Thursday, July 25, 2024

Police appeal to solve 1989 disappearance of Sydney butcher

Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the suspicious disappearance of an Ultimo man nearly 35 years ago.

Police say Paul Norton, then aged 31, was last seen on Sunday 9 of April 1989, after spending the day with his sons at Leichhardt Oval watching a Parramatta Eels versus Balmain Tigers Rugby League match.

Paul’s sister, Margaret Brown, said she hoped the fresh appeal could provide some answers about what happened to Paul, who was a much-loved member of her family.

“Paul and I were one of six children, and with only four of us remaining, we love to find some answers about what happened,” Ms Brown said.

“Even though it’s going back many years, we’re asking anyone who might have information to contact police.”

He was reported missing on Friday 14 April 1989 by his girlfriend to officers attached to Eastern Suburbs Police Area Command, who commenced inquiries to locate him.

Paul’s girlfriend told police he was last seen wearing a red and white striped shirt, grey trousers, and grey and tan shoes.

He was described as being of Caucasian appearance with a freckled complexion, about 165cm tall, of thin build with brown hair.

Paul was born and grew up in Young but was working as a butcher in Ultimo at the time of his disappearance.

On Tuesday 2 May 1989, police located Mr Norton’s car – a blue 1981 Commodore sedan – at the Hertz Car Rental in the Sydney Airport Domestic Terminal in Mascot.

Despite further extensive inquiries by police at the time, Mr Norton was never found.

In 1996, an inquest determined it was most likely Paul’s death was a result of homicide, motivated by his alleged involvement in Sydney’s drug trade.

Human remains found at Kurnell on Tuesday 2 October 2007, were formally identified as belonging to Paul Norton in 2019 with the use of DNA technology, including familial samples.

The matter was then referred to State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad who have commenced investigations under Strike Force Durali.

Initial observations by strike force detectives have drawn links between the suspicious disappearance and likely murder of Paul Norton and a series of underworld killings in Sydney in the 80s.

As inquiries continue, strike force detectives are appealing for anyone with information about Paul or his death to contact police.

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