Putting closure to a 34-year-old murder case, a man in Australia has finally confessed to the killing of a gay University student Scott Johnson in 1988. According to a report by BBC, initially, it was believed that Johnson had died by suicide by jumping off a cliff. He was found disrobed at the bottom of the North Head Cliffs in Sydney, which was a popular cruising spot among gay men. However in 2020, a man Scott White was arrested and charged with the murder of Johnson who surprisingly confessed to committing the crime this week at a pre-trial hearing. The chilling case could be unfolded after Johnson’s brother Steve Johnson took matter into his own hands and hired investigators in 2005. Steve had suspected that members of a homophobic gang who roamed the northern beaches in Sydney must have killed his brother. “It was inconceivable to me that (Scott) Johnson went somewhere and jumped off a cliff,” Steve had earlier told BBC.
Police had found nothing suspicious after the case was reopened in 2012 and 2015. They had marked it as a suicide case until it was ruled in 2017 by a coroner that Johnson was killed by a homophobic gang. A new investigation had later found that around 80 gay men had fallen prey to the homophobic gangs who pushed them off the cliffs in the late eighties in and around Sydney.
Reportedly, as the matter came to light, it prompted Australian police to renew their investigation and even offer $1m reward for more information on the case. Meanwhile, Steve too had offered an additional $1m for clues pertaining to the murder of his brother.
Following the confession of White, his lawyers tried to withdraw the admission by arguing that the guilty was not mentally fit. However, a Supreme Judge on Thursday rejected the motion and stated that the confession was made “in a loud clear voice, and in an emphatic and determined manner”.