City News

Police dismiss serial killer speculation

Ahmed Ghoniem

Kings Cross Police have ruled out the existence of a serial killer in relation to the recent murder of Potts Point man Ahmed Ghoniem, but are yet to find the perpetrator.

The 27-year-old man, who moved to Sydney from Egypt several years ago, was found seriously injured in his Potts Point apartment after a fire on the afternoon of Saturday, September 29. Mr Ghoniem was treated by ambulance officers at the scene of his fourth floor Greenknowe Ave apartment and taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards.

Homicide detectives determined that Mr Ghoniem had suffered from a number of serious injuries unrelated to the fire.

Detective Inspector Angelo Memmolo dismissed gay community speculation that Mr Ghoniem was the victim of a serial killer who may be targeting gay men. Mr Ghoniem was known to be active on gay dating websites and apps such as Grindr and Gaydar.

The murders of several gay men in Sydney in recent years remain unsolved.

“We have absolutely no concerns along those lines and that idea is completely wrong,” Mr Memmolo said. “The community does not need to fear a serial killer.”

In an email sent to numerous police officers last week, gay activist Gary Burns raised the idea of a serial killer, prompting insults from Inspector Memmolo. In a reply intended for his colleagues but accidentally sent to Mr Burns himself, Inspector Memmolo branded Mr Burns a “lunatic”.

Inspector Memmolo told City News his email was a “terrible mistake” and said he “apologised unreservedly” for the transgression.

“I was reacting to the idea of a serial killer, which we know not to be the case,” said Inspector Memmolo.

NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn also emailed an apology to Mr Burns.

Mr Burns called on police to act quickly to solve the case, noting that the murders of several gay men in Sydney in recent years remain unsolved.

“It’s really important the NSW Police Force fight for those famous sisters, truth and justice,” said Mr Burns. “Mr Ghoniem was a young gay man brutally murdered here in Sydney and even his own family in Egypt refused to take his body back for burial because he is gay.

“This poor young man deserves justice and I call on the NSW Police Force to deliver.”

The killer of Anthony Cawsey, who was stabbed to death in Centennial Park in September 2009, remains on the loose – as does the murderer of Matthew Leveson, who was last seen alive at Arq nightclub, Darlinghurst in September 2007.

Inspector Memmolo said the investigation by officers from Strike Force Lourde was proceeding well, but called on members of the public to contact police with any information they may have.

“Anyone with further information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers or … Kings Cross Police Station,” he said.