Carl Stockton

5 November 1996


Carl Stockton lived alone in Surry Hills and was a train driver, having previously worked in the Taxation Department. He was a gay man, although it seems he kept his sexuality mostly private. Mr Stockton was a regular patron of the Bar Cleveland, a hotel on the corner of Cleveland Street and Bourke Street in Redfern. He usually attended alone and played a card machine in the back bar. He was there drinking alone on Melbourne Cup Day in 1996. In that year, that was 5 November.

Early the next morning, at about 1am on 6 November, Mr Stockton was found, apparently intoxicated, sitting in the backyard of a house that backed onto the laneway behind the Bar Cleveland. The owners of the house helped him through the back gate and into the laneway. But shortly afterwards, at about 1.15am, Mr Stockton was seen lying on his back on the inside traffic lane of Cleveland Street, at the corner of Bourke Street outside the Bar Cleveland. A passerby, with the help of a member of staff of the Bar Cleveland, lifted Mr Stockton up and helped him walk to the steps of the Hotel. He had a black eye and a cut to his face. A call was made to the Sydney City Mission and at about 1.30am welfare officers arrived and took Mr Stockton to Campbell House, a proclaimed place where he would receive care. However, by 11.30am that day there were concerns about his wellbeing, he had been vomiting and was disoriented. He was taken to hospital and he died there five days later. He was 52.

An autopsy revealed massive head injuries, with three separate areas of impact, as well as bruising on the legs, chest and arms. There was an inquest. A pathologist considered that it was unlikely Mr Stockton had been struck by a motor vehicle given the pattern of multiple injuries. A consultant neurosurgeon also considered a motor vehicle accident unlikely and concluded that Mr Stockton's injuries clearly pointed to an assault with repeated head injuries. The Coroner returned an open finding.

Strike Force Parrabell assigned the case to the category of "insufficient information to establish a bias crime".