July 27 2010

– The 32-year mystery over the murder of transsexual prostitute Adele Bailey has taken a dramatic twist, with explosive new evidence implicating several former officers being given to the Office of Police Integrity.

OPI investigators have been told the alleged killer is an ex-detective with strong links to serving senior members of Victoria Police.

Previously named suspect Denis Tanner is not the former officer identified in the new information.

But Mr Tanner has allegedly known the new suspect since before Ms Bailey died in 1978.

Detectives who interviewed Mr Tanner after Ms Bailey’s body was found near a Tanner family property in 1995 accused him of helping to dispose of the body.

The Herald Sun can reveal a former high-ranking police officer secretly provided the new suspect’s name to the OPI last year.

He told the OPI Ms Bailey attended a party with several police in 1978 and performed a sex act on one of the officers.

That officer allegedly found out later in the night that Ms Bailey was a transsexual.

He was apparently so upset he allegedly attacked her at the party.

The OPI has been told Ms Bailey allegedly died as a result of the beating.

Ms Bailey was born Paul Bailey in New Zealand in 1955, but changed her name after having a full sex change operation in Egypt in 1976.

The former high-ranking officer whose information sparked the new OPI probe has told the corruption buster the name of her alleged killer.

He also told the OPI other police officers were allegedly present when Ms Bailey, 23, was killed.

The former detective, who asked the Herald Sun not to identify him, said he didn’t pass the new information to Victoria Police because the suspect was still closely connected to senior police.

He feared the suspect would be tipped off.

“I am not saying the current serving officers are crooks, but I just think they had a false sense of loyalty towards this particular individual, or individuals, and that false sense of loyalty might remain to this day,” the informant told the Herald Sun.

He refused to name the agency he went to with the new lead.

OPI secrecy provisions mean it can be an on offence to reveal you have been interviewed by the OPI.

But the Herald Sun has been able to confirm through other sources it was the OPI the former officer spoke to.

He said yesterday the new information did not place Mr Tanner at the scene of Ms Bailey’s killing.

But he claimed there was circumstantial evidence that suggested Mr Tanner might have assisted in the disposal of the body.

He claimed Mr Tanner knew the suspect and some of the other police allegedly present when Ms Bailey died.


May 14, 1978 Denis Tanner arrested and charged transsexual prostitute Adele Bailey during a blitz on street hookers in St Kilda.

September 12, 1978 Evidence gathered years later suggested this was most likely the day Ms Bailey, 23, was murdered.

September 21, 1978 Ms Bailey failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

November 14, 1984 Denis Tanner’s sister-in-law Jennifer died from two gunshot wounds to the head at her Bonnie Doon home.

October 18, 1985 Coroner Hugh Adams recorded open finding at the first Jennifer Tanner inquest, despite claims by some police that she committed suicide.

July 20, 1995 Ms Bailey’s body found in Bonnie Doon mineshaft near Tanner family property.

July 21, 1995 Jennifer Tanner’s cousin Andrew Gustke happened to be a member of the homicide crew called to investigate the Bailey body. He was probably the only person in the homicide squad who would have realised the body of Ms Bailey was found near the Tanner family’s Springfield property, where Jennifer Tanner was shot. Denis Tanner later became a suspect for both deaths after detectives discovered he arrested and charged Ms Bailey four months before she disappeared and he allegedly worked as a bouncer in the South Yarra pub used as a local by Ms Bailey and other transsexuals.

August 15, 1995 Police interviewed Denis Tanner’s brother Laurie about the Springfield property his wife died in and its closeness to the Jack of Clubs mine where Ms Bailey’s body was found. He told police he was aware of the mine and knew its location.

September 11, 1995 The Springfield house Jennifer Tanner was shot in burnt to the ground, possibly destroying evidence which might have helped detectives determine how she died.

May 20, 1996 Taskforce Kale formed to investigate the Bailey death and re-investigate the death of Jennifer Tanner.

July 9, 1996 Jennifer Tanner’s body exhumed.

October 30, 1996 Police interviewed Denis Tanner about the Bailey death and accused him of throwing her down the mineshaft. He refused to comment, but has since denied being involved in Ms Bailey’s death.

December 19, 1996 Supreme Court judge George Hampel quashed the open finding of the first Jennifer Tanner inquest and ordered a second inquest.

December 10, 1998 Coroner Graeme Johnstone handed down finding at the second Jennifer Tanner inquest that Denis Tanner shot dead his sister-in-law. Various motives were given during evidence, including that Ms Tanner might have been about to leave her husband and take much of his money with her.

March 19, 1999 Director of Public Prosecutions announced insufficient evidence to charge Denis Tanner with Jennifer’s murder.

June 2, 1999 Coroner Jacinta Heffey recorded open finding in the death of Ms Bailey. Ms Heffey said the evidence fell well short of establishing any involvement of Denis Tanner in her death.

February 24, 2003 Herald Sun exclusive revealed claims by Denis Tanner that he had new evidence which would prove his innocence and he called for new Tanner and Bailey inquests so he could clear his name.

October 13, 2005 Herald Sun exclusively revealed $2 million was being offered as a reward for solving the Tanner and Bailey murders.

November 5, 2009 Supreme Court bid by Denis Tanner supporter Ron Irwin for new Tanner and Bailey inquests abandoned because a law change meant such applications could no longer be heard by the Supreme Court, but had to go to the coroner instead.

July 2010 State Coroner Jennifer Coate still considering Mr Irwin’s application for new Tanner and Bailey inquests and for the overturning of second inquest finding that Denis Tanner shot dead Jennifer Tanner.

– Keith Moor


About Jumpin' Jack Cash
This entry was posted in Cold Case Murders, Corruption and Misconduct, Homicide, Suicide, Suspicious Death, Unsolved Murders and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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