DNA breakthrough in Crispin Dye’s suspected gay hate murder


Crispin Dye was bashed in a suspected hate crime in 1993
Image: NSW Police

A DNA breakthrough has revealed a new person of interest in the suspected gay hate murder of former AC/DC manager Crispin Dye in Sydney almost 30 years after his death.

The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes has been examining the deaths of gay people between 1970 and 2010. Hearings resumed this week.

Musician Crispin Dye (above) was bashed in a suspected gay hate crime near Taylor Square in Darlinghurst on December 23, 1993. The 41-year-old later died from the injuries on Christmas Day.

Crispin had managed rock bands AC/DC and Rose Tattoo and also released his own music before his death.

But the 2023 inquiry earlier discovered NSW Police never sent Crispin’s blood-stained jeans and denim shirt for forensic analysis.

Other evidence was lost. The hate crime inquiry also heard police never discovered potentially important information written on two pieces of paper.

Those pieces of paper, in Crispin’s shirt pocket, have sat in an evidence box untested for 30 years.

“It is clear that the [NSW Police Force] had not previously been aware of the existence of these papers,” Counsel Assisting told the inquiry.

“The Inquiry has found no reference to these items in any material produced by the NSWPF. The NSWPF has conceded that it was not previously aware of these items.”

Incredibly, the inquiry also found blood on Crispin Dye’s jean pocket matched DNA found at a crime scene in Sydney in 2002.

This revealed a new person of interest who was charged just two weeks later with bashing a tourist in Kings Cross.

But that person is now dead. The LGBTIQ hate crime inquiry heard it’s not possible to conclude that person’s role in Crispin’s murder.

NSW Police evidence bungles ‘particularly troubling’

Counsel assisting in the inquiry called it “troubling” and “plainly unsatisfactory” that police failed to test Crispin’s clothing earlier.

“The failure of NSW Police to arrange for the testing of Mr Dye’s clothing at the time of the original investigation or any time thereafter is of particular concern,” O’Brien said.

“What’s particularly troubling about this is that the pieces of paper found by the inquiry… may have been a source of fingerprints or DNA.

“[This] in turn may have provided the police with information about Mr Dye’s assailant or assailants.”

The NSW hate crime inquiry also heard a Sydney woman said she knew who the killer was but police never interviewed her. The woman died in 2020.

In 2014, police offered a $100,000 reward for information on the cold case murder.

Crispin Dye’s family said this week the police bungles were “very disappointing”.

“The police should have done their job, followed due diligence and that’s very frustrating,” cousin Lisa told the inquiry.

“If things had been done a lot earlier, things would have been followed up a lot earlier, there would have been more of a conclusion or things to follow up.”

‘He was beaten because he was a gay man’

Crispin Dye’s friend Richard Cobden, a former Mardi Gras president, said the musician was “the gentlest possible soul”. He said the flaws in the investigation were “really heartbreaking”.

“I think there’s no doubt in my mind that [the bashing] was, in fact, a hate crime,” Cobden said.

“He was in a gay precinct at the height of when it was a gay precinct. We’re talking back in 1993.

“There’s no question that the gangs that are roaming the back streets of those hours were looking for gay people to bash.

“He was beaten because he was a gay man out late at night.”

Read also: NSW gay hate crime inquiry extended after police delays

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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