Australian man sentenced to 22 years in prison for 1987 homophobic murder

Stanley Bruce Early, found guilty of the murder of Australian man Raymond Keam, was part of a gang that assaulted men presumed to be gay.

This article is about an Australian homophobic murder. In the photo, a police car and a policeman in Australia.
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Content Warning: mentions of murder, violence and homophobia.

Australian man Stanley Bruce Early was sentenced to 22 years in prison in connection with the 1987 homophobic murder of Raymond Keam. The now 77-year-old offender will not be eligible for parole until 2037, when he will be 91.

Justice Dina Yehia of the New South Wales Supreme Court handed the prison sentence to Stanley Bruce Early on October 20, after he had been found guilty in June of the homophobic murder of Australian man Raymond Keam. The crime, which was said to be “motivated by hatred or prejudice”, took place in 1987 at Alison Park, Sydney, a popular gay spot at the time.

The murderer, who was known by the nickname ‘Spider’ in the 1980s, was part of a gang that frequently roamed the park to assault men they presumed to be gay. As the court heard during the trial, Early told others that he wanted to “clear these gays and homosexuals out of the park”.

On January 13, 1987, the gang led by Early violently attacked Raymond Keam, which resulted in his death. The victim’s body was found with multiple serious injuries to his face and body. Early was arrested in connection to the murder in 2021.

Before the sentencing, the court also heard a victim statement from another person who wished to remain anonymous and who described Early as a “soulless monster”.

“Early is a troubled person who not only murdered (Keam) and got away with it for many years but he also destroyed the lives of many other gay men for no reason,” it read.

Addressing the offender, the statement further said: “Because of you and your desire to ‘clean up’ Alison Park, you stripped the world of a loving father, partner, friend, and mentor.”


As reported by ABC News, in delivering the sentence last Friday, Judge Yehia described what Early and his gang did as “an affront to any civilised society”.

She explained that, while she was unable to find beyond reasonable doubt that among the group, Early had been the one to kill Raymond Keam, she was satisfied that he was part of a gang that assaulted him and intended to cause grievous bodily harm. “Although the offence was not planned, there was a degree of deliberation involved,” she added.

“I find as an aggravating factor that the offence was motivated by hatred or prejudice against homosexual males,” she said, adding that the sentence reflected “the abhorrence with which the court views violent acts motivated by an offender’s hatred and prejudice against another individual for no other reason than that person’s sexuality or perceived sexuality”.

“There is no place for such hatred and prejudice in a civilised society,” she stated.

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