The mystery of the death of George Brown.
The mystery of the death of George Brown.

‘People out there know who killed him’

The sister of murdered horse trainer George Brown believes those who know who killed her brother 35 years ago are still too frightened to come ­forward.

Controversial bookmaking giant Bill Waterhouse, who died a fortnight ago, has now been linked to the 1984 crime which reportedly followed a failed ring-in scam.

Mr Brown's sister Jean O'Leary said while she was not pointing the finger at Waterhouse she believes there are others still alive who hold the key to getting justice for her brother.

"People out there know who killed him," Mrs O'Leary told The Daily Telegraph.

"But 35 years later they're still scared."

 

Jean O'Leary, sister of murdered former horse trainer George Brown. Picture: Adam Head
Jean O'Leary, sister of murdered former horse trainer George Brown. Picture: Adam Head

Mr Brown, 38, was tortured and bashed to death a week after reportedly refusing to take part in a racing ring-in scam by substituting one of his horses for a better galloper at Doomben in March 1984.

Heavily backed to win despite her poor form, Brown's filly Risley duly ran second last, costing those in on the scam a fortune.

Mrs O'Leary said a number of people in the racing industry had knowledge of her brother's killing.

Bill Waterhouse leaving the Supreme Court.
Bill Waterhouse leaving the Supreme Court.

"I can't say (for sure) that Bill was one of them," she said.

"Two are dead, I am told, (Bill) is one, there is another dead but there are some that are very much alive."

A coroner's inquiry later heard that Mr Brown had come back from Brisbane in an agitated state on the Monday before his killing.

 

Horse trainer George Brown was found murdered in bushland at Bulli Tops in 1984.
Horse trainer George Brown was found murdered in bushland at Bulli Tops in 1984.

 

But Mrs O'Leary said she did not believe her brother was ever involved in ring-ins and thinks he was killed for some other reason.

"I was with him that day in Doomben and he was just normal George," she said.

"He said he didn't think his horse would run a very good race but he was just normal George."

The brutality of the trainer's death shocked Sydney. His body was found in his burnt-out car near Wollongong. The killers had broken all his arms and legs and caved in his skull with an iron bar.

"He was tortured. When I found out I didn't cry, I sobbed. And I have never gotten over it," Mrs O'Leary said. "How did they get away with it?"

The burnt out Ford Falcon that Brown was found inside of pictured here at the police station during the investigation.
The burnt out Ford Falcon that Brown was found inside of pictured here at the police station during the investigation.

She said her brother should be remembered as an honest, hardworking person who had to overcome many hardships.

"George and I had a very hard life," she said. "He lost his mother at 15 months old from (choking on) a fish bone. I reared George and when he turned seven, his dad died. Then we were parted and it was very hard."

George Brown then moved to Kent in England where his older brother let him work in a stud yard.

 

A paper clipping of George Brown. Picture: Adam Head
A paper clipping of George Brown. Picture: Adam Head

"He came home and worked for a couple of trainers and got his own stalls at Randwick," she said. "He worked really hard and was starting to get some winners (when he was killed)."

A coroner found Mr Brown may have been force-fed a large quantity of alcohol by his killers as they twisted and broke his arms and legs.

Mr Brown had left Randwick late in the afternoon on April 2, 1984, but never returned to his Kensington home. His body was found that night just off the F6 freeway, about 11pm. Police at the time of his death ruled out any alleged betting debts being behind his murder.


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