Scott Johnson’s family increases reward for information to $2million

The family of American man Scott Johnson have added an additional million dollars to the reward for information on the death of the American scholar.

The 27-year-old’s naked body was found at the bottom of cliffs in Sydney over 30 years ago. The area above the cliffs on Manly’s North Head was known as a gay beat in the 1980’s. In 2017 a coronial inquest heard that gangs would often attack and bash gay men in the area, but was unable to ascertain any individuals responsible for Johnson’s death.

When Johnson’s body was found on December 10th 1988 police ruled that his deaths was a suicide, it a verdict his family never accepted and they have fought for years to have the ruling overturned, In 2017 coroner Michael Barnes ruled that Johnson had died either have he was pushed or thrown over the cliff, or that he had fallen while trying to avoid his attackers.

In 2018 the NSW police announced a million dollar reward for information that led to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Mr Johnson’s death. Today Johnson’s family added an additional million dollars to the reward.

In a statement Johnson’s brother Steve explained why he was upping the reward money on offer.

“I have been greatly encouraged by the recent progress in the investigation, and truly honored by the reception Scott’s case has had with the community.

“We now live in a more tolerant and open society – particularly here and in the United States – where societies enable their LGBTIQ communities to be their true selves, live safely and unlock their full potential.

“I wish Scott had been afforded the same opportunity, and every effort I put into helping find his killer(s) is also to acknowledge that bullying and gay-hate crime will not be tolerated in our community.

“With a reward of up to $2 million on the table, I am hoping that Scott will finally get justice,” he said.

“Please, do it for Scott, do it for all gay men who were subject to hate crime, and now, do it for yourself.”

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said this was the first time such an offer had been made in NSW and acknowledged Steve Johnson’s tenacity and commitment, as well as his selflessness.

“It has been 31 long years in Scott’s family’s pursuit of answers, and the dedication to their brother is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking,” the Commissioner said.

“Steve has never wavered in his fight for justice; dedicating his time and efforts to Scott’s honour, and today, he stands before you to offer his own money in hope that detectives get the elusive pieces to this puzzle.

“Our job as police officers is to solve crime, so when dealing with cases like this, it’s frustrating knowing that a family’s pain and suffering could be eased by that someone who knows something coming forward.

“It’s no secret police offer rewards in hope they can motivate those people, and while the last increase proved somewhat beneficial for investigators, we’ve still got more work to do.

“While we’d like to believe a person’s conscience would force them to come forward, it’s clearly not in this case. So, if you’ve got the information we need – and cash appeals to you – there’s now up now up to 2 million reasons to talk to us.”

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said it was a privilege to provide police with the resources needed to solve crime and deliver justice for victims and their families.

“The reward program is one of many NSW Government commitments to ensuring the people of NSW are served and protected by a world-class police force,” the Minister said.

“There are currently more than 250 rewards on offer for information that range from $50,000 to $1 million.

“It is encouraging to know that investigators have already been able to use our reward to gather important information for Scott’s case.

“I hope Mr Johnson’s generous offer, coupled with the NSW Government reward, will complement the diligent work of investigators to finally find the answers he has been seeking.”

Strike Force Welsford’s Detective Chief Inspector Yeomans thanked Mr Johnson for his continued support and for once again making the journey to Sydney.

“Our team has been working tirelessly on Scott’s case and, while we’ve been humbled by Steve’s reward offer, we are not going to lose focus,” Yeomans said.

“One of our greatest challenges has been facing a wall of silence, but we are starting to break through.

“At this time, we are currently following some very specific lines of inquiry – essentially, we believe that given the culture of gay hate at that time, the events surrounding Scott’s death would have likely been bragged about.

“This means there are two potential groups with information: those who were involved and those they told. Now is the time for them – or anyone who has information – to come forward.”

Up to $2million reward can be paid to anyone who has fresh information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Scott’s death.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Welsford detectives is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

OIP Staff


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