Scott White admits to murdering Scott Johnson, solving one of Sydney's longest running gay hate mysteries – ABC News

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Scott White admits to murdering Scott Johnson, solving one of Sydney's longest-running gay hate crimes
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Scott White has been convicted of murder after admitting killing American mathematician Scott Johnson, whose body was found at the bottom of a Sydney cliff more than 30 years ago.
The death of Mr Johnson had been one of Sydney's longest-standing murder mysteries, and although police considered it a suicide for many years, his family always believed it was a gay hate crime.
In 2020, detectives charged White, 49, with murdering Mr Johnson in 1988 after a key informant named him as a suspect.
White pleaded not guilty last year.
But three days ago White entered a guilty plea, which his lawyer tried to have withdrawn the next day.
It is understood his barrister tried to argue White was not fit to make the admission.
The Supreme Court rejected that motion today and convicted him of murder.
White, who is in custody, will be sentenced on May 2.
Mr Johnson's brother, Steve Johnson, has relentlessly pursued justice for his brother and reportedly spent up to $1 million on an investigator to prove his death was the result of foul play.
Today he said proving the death was a homicide "wasn't easy" but his faith had now been "restored".
"I think primarily I'm feeling relief and I am thinking about my brother and that a lot of people cared about him to bring this result today," he said.
He said the Johnson family were grateful a trial would be avoided and thanked former police commissioner Mick Fuller for appointing "damn good people" to investigate the death.
"[We're] greatly relieved that the accused found it in his soul to confess and plead guilty and put an end to this, so I'm very happy about that."
Steve Johnson said his brother was a "proud" gay man and was his best friend.
"[My brother] was brilliant, but more modest than he was brilliant, so you would never hear him say that," Steve Johnson said.
"The last conversation we know he had was with his [university] professor … as far as his professor was concerned, my brother could get a job at any university in the world."
Mr Johnson was 27 when he was killed, and his death has been the subject of three coronial inquests.
The first inquest found he took his own life, while the second returned an open finding.
At the third inquest, NSW Coroner Michael Barnes found Mr Johnson was the victim of a gay hate crime and fell off the cliff as a result of actual or threatened violence.
A fisherman found Mr Johnson's naked body on rocks at Bluefish Point in North Head, Manly, with his clothes discovered laid out at the top of the cliff above.
At the time there were many reports of gangs committing gay hate assaults in the North Head area where Mr Johnson was found, and police alleged the murder was motivated by "absolute" hatred of him as a gay man.
At the third inquest into Mr Johnson's death, the coroner concluded that NSW Police did not adequately investigate deaths near gay beats.
In 2018, the NSW government announced a $1 million reward for information that led to the arrest and conviction of Mr Johnson's killer or killers, and in 2020, Steve Johnson doubled the police reward for new information about his brother's death.
Scott Johnson moved from the US to Australia in 1986 on a student visa to be with his Australian partner, Michael Noone.
Mr Johnson was completing his PhD studies at the Australian National University in Canberra but the couple also spent time in Sydney, where they would stay at Mr Noone's family home in Lane Cove.
During the initial police investigation, Mr Noone decided to tell police the pair were just friends, as he thought the investigation could be jeopardised if their sexuality was known.
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