A 51-year-old Australian man has been sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for the 1988 homophobic murder of an American. The victim was 27 years old at the time of the incident.

Scott White pleaded guilty to the murder of Los Angeles-born mathematician Scott Johnson in January. He pushed Johnson off a cliff which was famous as a gay meeting place in Sydney in 1988. White had confessed to his crime in 2020 and had told the police: "I pushed a bloke. He went over the edge."

Johnson's body was found by a fisherman at the bottom of the cliff known in North Head, Sydney. It took over 30 years for the family to get justice since the police had maintained that Johnson had died by suicide.

White's crime came to light after his former wife Helen White wrote an anonymous letter to a detective in 2019. She revealed in the court White often used to "brag" about attacking gay men during his younger days.

She further stated that she had even asked him if he had killed Johnson after she read about his death in a newspaper. She again asked her former husband about the incident when the story resurfaced in September 2008.

He had then responded by saying that "it's not my fault the dumb c**t ran off the cliff," according to his ex-wife.

White had a record of committing violent crimes before and after Johnson's death but had not committed any offence since 2008. His lawyers have now appealed against his conviction.

Johnson's brother, Steve Johnson, had even announced a reward of 1 million Australian dollars ($704,000) for anyone with information about his brother's death. His siblings flew into Sydney from the US to deliver emotional victim impact statements during the hearing of the case at the New South Wales state Supreme Court.

"With a vicious push, Mr. White took Scott and he vanished. This man [his brother] who once told me he could never hurt someone even in self-defense died in terror," said Steve.

At the time of Johnson's death in 1988, Sydney was infamous for its gangs of men roaming the streets in search of gay men to assault and harass, according to a report in CBS News.

Crime Scene
Representational image Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images