A man charged over the 1987 death of a Sydney father was allegedly part of a gang that targeted and assaulted gay men, a court has heard.
Stanley Early, 76, was arrested over the cold case murder of Raymond Keam and extradited from Victoria to Sydney in August last year.
Early was charged with the murder of the married father of two, who was fatally bashed at Alison Park in Randwick in Sydney’s east in January 1987.
Keam, who identified as heterosexual, died from severe head injuries, a 1988 coronial inquest found. Keam also suffered injuries to his chest.
The park was a known gay beat in the 1980s. NSW Police allege Raymond Keam was killed in a gay hate attack based on a “perception” of his sexual orientation.
Murder accused Stanley Early was allegedly part of gang
Crown prosecutors allege Stanley Early, also known as Stanley Sutton or “Spider” Sutton, was part of a group known as the “Alison Park Gang,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The gang allegedly targeted gay men in that area. Prosecutors allege Stanley Early inflicted Keam’s injuries alone or with others.
On Friday, NSW Supreme Court judge Nicholas Chen said prosecutors allege Early had a tendency to “in very broad terms assault” people who were homosexual who attended Alison Park.
“The evidence suggests [Raymond Keam was] struck a number of times to the side of his face, neck, back and mouth,” he said.
“After that [he] suffered injuries to the back of his head when he fell to the ground.
“It also appears that the victim suffered injuries to his chest consistent with the cause being the sole of a shoe.”
The judge said that same month, Early then allegedly “unexpectedly left” Randwick and travelled to Bundaberg, Queensland. The man allegedly made “certain admissions as to why he left,” the court heard.
Early’s defence barrister told the court there was no evidence of his client having contact with deceased. Crown prosecutors told the court there was strong circumstantial evidence in the case.
The NSW Supreme Court judge granted Stanley Early bail on Friday, ahead of a trial in May 2023.
The judge granted bail on a series of conditions. The murder accused must wear an ankle bracelet, stay in New South Wales, report to police, and surrender his passport.
A surety of $1 million was also put up to secure Early’s bail.
Numerous other suspected gay hate murders remain unsolved
NSW Police and the state government previously offered a $1 million reward for information on Raymond Keam’s death.
There are numerous other suspected “gay hate” murders in New South Wales that remain unsolved. In some of the cases, NSW Police have offered substantial rewards for new information.
Anyone with information on unsolved crimes can contact Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000 or online.
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