The bodies of 52-year-old Steven Finlay and his partner Mitch Watson, 32, were discovered by NSW police at a boarding house in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern on Saturday night.

Trigger Warning: This story has details of a gay couple’s gruesome death and might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

According to the NSW Police spokesperson, around 11.50pm on January 29, “emergency services were called to a unit on Cleveland Street, Redfern, following a concern for welfare report.” The police discovered the bodies inside the unit.

“Officers attached to South Sydney Police Area Command established a crime scene, which is being examined by specialist forensic police. Detectives, with assistance from the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, have commenced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding their deaths under Strike Force Menlow,” said the NSW Police.

Neighbours Said Couple Had Been Fighting Before Grim Discovery

According to the Daily Telegraph, the deceased couple’s neighbour had heard the two “fighting moments before police made the grim discovery.”

Finlay was found reportedly clinging to his mobile phone. Moments before, he had been fighting with his partner at the Cleveland Street boarding house, neighbours said.

The neighbours told the News Corp masthead that “one man was a resident at the boarding house and the other was his partner of several months, who frequently stayed at the property.”

The local resident who lived in the property said he had heard “clashing moments before the room went quiet.”

“It was like he punched his mate at the wall and I woke up and said ‘what the f*** are you doing? Stop it’,” the man said. “I heard bang bang bang, then it went dead quiet and the police came. They’re always fighting, I hear it.”

Soon after police arrived, the man walked past the room. He saw them “covered in blood” and “lifeless on the ground.”

“There was blood. A lot of blood. All on his arm. It looked like his arm had gone through glass,” he said.

Police Say Investigations Are Ongoing

Michael Hannah, another local resident, told the Sydney Morning Herald he had not seen the couple for days.  “It was a bit out of the ordinary. He’s lived here for a few years,” Hannah said. 

Siti Hajar Abdul Karim and Far Akma Norman live who also live in the boarding house said the “two men were a couple.”

“I just know them as a neighbour, but not very close…they are a couple,” Norman said. She said police woke them up at midnight to ask them questions. 

“I talked to the police last night, and they asked me whether I knew anything…or if I had heard anyone fighting,” Norman said. “Police have been there all day.”

A NSW Police spokesperson said all lines of inquiry were still open and investigations were ongoing due to the discovery only being made late on Saturday night. The police have urged anyone with information to contact Redfern Police Station on (02) 8303 5199 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The Daily Telegraph reported tributes have been coming in since the announcement of the two men’s deaths. 


If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.




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