Breakthrough in murder of former AC/DC manager, Crispin Dye, decades after suspected hate crime

Former manager of AC/DC Crispin Dye

Police have made a major breakthrough in the unsolved murder of AC/DC’s former manager, Crispin Dye, almost three decades after the suspected hate crime was reported.

Dye, who managed the Australian rock band throughout the 1980s, died on Christmas Day 1993, two days after he sustained severe head injuries in an inner-city suburb of Sydney.

The case went cold for 30 years, but now, police have identified a new person of interest.

Tests concluded that the DNA found on Dye’s jeans matched that of another crime scene, with officers currently examining his death as part of a broader investigation into hate crimes in the state of New South Wales.

Established in 2015 under the name of Strike Force Parrabell, the initiative is probing 88 unsolved deaths of gay men throughout the state between 1979 and 2000.

Before now, Dye’s clothes had never undergone forensic examination despite the widespread availability of DNA testing, with the new inquiry finding that two pieces of paper recovered from his pocket had also not been analysed, 9News reported.

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One even had a name written on it, with the other tinged red with blood. Previously, three separate police investigations and a coroner’s inquest had assessed Dye’s case.

The newly identified person of interest – listed only as NP252 – died in 2002, although it’s not currently clear whether he played any role in Dye’s death. He had been convicted of other assault charges and had a long criminal history.

After Strike Force Parrabell was established, Dye’s death was moved to a category entitled “insufficient information to establish a bias crime” because detectives could not confidently define his sexuality.

“Some of Dye’s friends thought he was gay or bisexual but whether that was in fact so seems to be unclear,” Peter Gray, a lawyer working on the inquest, told the inquiry in November.

However, the attack happened so close to the bars and clubs of Sydney’s gay centre Oxford Street, that one suggestion is that he had been attacked because of his sexuality.

Although homosexuality was decriminalised in New South Wales in 1984, violence against LGBTQ+ people was often not fully investigated by police.

A study by the Institute of Criminology concluded that up to 80 gay men were murdered between 1976 and 2000, and in 2018 the police were forced to admit to major failings.

“[New South Wales Police] acknowledges without qualification both its and society’s acceptance of gay bashings and shocking violence directed at gay men, and the LGBT community between 1976 and 2000,” it said in a statement. “There were certainly people murdered because of their sexuality during this time.”