A forensic breakthrough has identified a person of interest in the unsolved murder of AC/DC band manager Crispin Dye.
In 1993, Dye, aged 41, was celebrating the release of his debut solo album in Sydney when he was attacked. The incident resulted in severe head injuries, and the musician died in hospital two days later, on Christmas Day.
The attack happened near Oxford Street’s LGBTQ+ bars, and witnesses said three men were seen standing over his unconscious body before fleeing the scene. Crispin’s friends suspected that the attack was a hate crime. However, because it took place in an inner-city suburb of Darlinghurst on a street that was commonly known for robberies, police did not identify it as one.
In 1995, an official inquiry into the case was conducted, but even after advertising a $100,000 reward, no progress was made on the investigation.
Thirty years later, in 2023, a Special Commission of Inquiry investing potential LGBTQ+ hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 discovered that Dye’s blood-stained clothing items were never sent for forensic testing.
The forensic analysis in July identified blood on the back pocket of his jeans that contained DNA matching a profile obtained from another crime scene. This person of interest committed a break-in in Sydney’s Glenwood in February 2002, however, they died in the same year and their name has not been released.
Additionally, two pieces of paper were found in Dye’s shirt pocket which contained a bloodstain and possible fingerprints of the assailants. For nearly three decades, this key DNA evidence sat untested in an evidence box.
Meg O’Brien, counsel assisting the inquiry, described this mistake as “extraordinary,” noting that despite multiple investigations into his death, New South Wales (NSW) Police failed to discover these pieces of paper. She said: “It is plainly unsatisfactory that this evidence has lain untouched for nearly 30 years without being found or subjected to testing.”
While the motivation for the attack remains unknown, the investigating team says there is “objective reason” to suspect the attack was a hate crime. The inquiry team is currently investigating 88 unsolved deaths of gay men in Australia between 1979 and 2000.
NSW Police issued a statement supporting the investigation saying: “The NSW Police Force reiterates their full support of the Inquiry and has dedicated significant resources to the task.”
Supreme Court Justice John Sackar will deliver a final report on the AC/DC band manager’s murder to the state government in December of this year.
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