Queensland man charged over 1976 murder

Rex Kable Keen

Police today charged a Bundaberg man with the 1976 murder of Rex Kable Keen in Brisbane. Hotel staff discovered his body in room 1205 at Lennon’s Plaza Hotel on the morning of 14 August 1976.

The 46-year-old motel manager regularly stayed at Lennon’s on his visits to Brisbane.


In August 2014, he came to town both for a medical appointment and to attend the Ekka.

On Black Friday, the night of August 13, after arriving in Brisbane the previous Monday, Rex called in at the Carlton Crest Hotel for a drink. He planned to return to Bowen the following day.

Distinct in appearance

Witnesses there saw him drinking with a man described as “distinct in appearance.”

That man wore his hair in a ponytail tied back with a piece of leather.

He was also described as noticeably effeminate.

Later that night a room service attendant saw the same man in Keen’s room at Lennon’s at around 10.30pm when she delivered drinks.

Soon afterwards hotel guests heard a disturbance in the room.

The next morning cleaners found Keen’s beaten and stabbed body in the room.

The killer also stole his victim’s clothes, camera and thousands of dollars.

Police at the time expected to make a quick arrest based on the suspect’s distinctive appearance.

Cold case review of Rex Kable Keen murder

Police announced earlier this month they believed they were closing in on the killer after an 18-month review of the cold case.

They reviewed the forensic evidence, examined historical DNA found at the scene, taking advantage of technology not available in 1976.


They also re-interviewed witnesses who provided additional evidence to that given in 1976.

Today detectives arrested a 69-year-old Bundaberg man and charged him with the murder.

He will appear in Bundaberg Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Police do not expect any claims for the $250,000 reward on offer for information leading to a conviction in the case.

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