Gilles Mattaini

September 15 1985

Marks Park, Bondi

Mr Mattaini was a young gay man born in France who lived with his partner, who was also French, in Bondi. Mr Mattaini worked at the Menzies Hotel in the city as a barman. One of the leisure time activities that he enjoyed was walking around the beachside areas and paths near Bondi. Between Bondi Beach and Bronte Beach there was, and is, a scenic coastal path very popular with walkers and joggers. Bondi Beach itself has a wide walking promenade along its whole length. The Bondi to Bronte path winds around the water's edge, sometimes down almost at sea level, and in other places quite high near the top of sheer cliffs.

Near Tamarama Beach, which is midway between Bondi and Bronte, the path has the ocean on one side and a park called Marks Park on the other side. This whole area, the Bondi-Tamarama-Marks Park area, is central to the facts surrounding several of the cases the subject of Category A of the Terms of Reference, possibly including that of Mr Mattaini. Much of the area which includes the path, in particular around Marks Park, was a well-known beat. Mr Mattaini, according to his partner and friends, was a shy and private person and was not a user of the Marks Park beat.

In September 1985, Mr Mattaini's partner was holidaying in France. Mr Mattaini was looking forward to his return and also to the arrival of another friend from France who would be staying with them in Bondi.

On 16 September 1985, Mr Mattaini failed to show up for his shift at the Menzies Hotel. There was naturally concern amongst his friends who did what they could to try to find out what had happened to him but they had no success.

Mr Mattaini's partner was in France at the time. He was informed of Mr Mattaini's disappearance and was, of course, very distressed by it. He had the impression, which it seems was not correct, that one or other of Mr Mattaini's friends had reported the matter to the Police. No record of any such report has ever been found, and there was no police investigation in 1985.

In 2001 and 2002, some 16 or 17 years later, the disappearance of Mr Mattaini became part of the police investigation called Strike Force Taradale. That investigation led to the lengthy inquest, during the course of 2003 and 2004 before then Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge.

The Coroner's findings of March 2005 were that Mr Mattaini was dead, that he had died on or about 15 September 1985. It was concluded that there was no evidence to support a finding of suicide, and that while she was not able to make a positive finding as to the cause and manner of his death, there was "a strong possibility" that he had died in similar circumstances to Mr Ross Warren and Mr John Russell in 1989.

By contrast, Strike Force Neiwand, nearly 13 years later in December 2017, arrived at a very different view, namely, that it was "highly probable" that Mr Mattaini committed suicide. At about the same time, Strike Force Parrabell, in the Parrabell Report published in June 2018, assigned this case to the "insufficient information to establish a bias crime" category.

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