Stanley Bruce Early will likely die behind bars for the 1987 killing of a man who was bashed to death by a homophobic gang in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The now-77-year-old was found guilty of murder over the attack on Raymond Keam at Allison Park, which at the time was a known “gay beat”.
He was sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday to a maximum of 22 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 15 years and 6 months.
At the time of the murder, Early was on bail after committing an act of indecency against a 12-year-old boy.
Having lived a troubled life, including being molested at a boys home and raped while in jail, he told psychiatrists, “Maybe I have some sort of anger about being gay.”
Early had a habit of assaulting men in Allison Park who he believed were homosexuals.
One night in around 1986, he approached a group of students from local Catholic school Marcellin College and asked if they would like to help him “clear the park out of these gays and homosexuals”.
In the early hours of January 13, 1987, Early confronted Mr Keam at the park and violently attacked him with the help of a group of unknown men, who are not suggested to have been students from the college.
Mr Keam, a 43-year-old father, was struck to the ground during the assault and stomped on, with the cause of death being either one or multiple blows to his head.
His body was found the next morning.
In delivering her sentence, Justice Dina Yehia said she was unable to find beyond reasonable doubt Early was the one that delivered the fatal blow to Mr Keam.
However, she found he either directly assaulted Mr Keam or encouraged others to assault him with the intention of causing serious bodily harm.
Justice Yehia described the practice of so-called “p**fter bashing” in which Early and his associates engaged as vile and “an affront to any civilised society”.
“I find as an aggravating factor that the offence was motivated by hatred or prejudice against homosexual males,” she said.
Early pleaded not guilty to the crime and continues to maintain his innocence, exhibiting no remorse.
Justice Yehia noted he was likely to die behind bars as he would not be eligible for release until 2037, when he would be 91 years old.
Early grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and had two gay brothers, including a half-brother who died from suicide
He reported himself as being bisexual and having casual relationships with men, but never a stable or long-term relationship.
He described his state of mind at the time of the murder as being “very lonely and depressed”.
Since being arrested for Mr Keam’s murder in 2021, Early has tried to take his own life and is described as having a “chronic risk of suicide”.
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https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/crime-news/2023/10/20/sydney-gay-basher-gets-life/ Elderly gay-basher gets ‘life’ for 1987 lethal assault