Man arrested and charged with 1989 bookmaker Charles Skarratt murder is son of anti-gambling campaigner

  • Sydney bookmaker Charles Skarratt was murdered in 1989
  • Accused man Terry Hickson was charged on Thursday by detectives from the Unsolved Homicides Squad

A man who has been charged with the notorious 1989 killing of Sydney bookmaker Charles Skarratt has been identified by Australian media as the son of a former gambler who became an anti-gambling campaigner and gambling addiction counsellor.

The murder of bookmaker Charles Skarratt has not yet been solved, but police have charged a man this week.
The murder of bookmaker Charles Skarratt has not yet been solved, but police have charged a man this week.

Mr Skarratt, who was well-known in the greyhound racing industry, was discovered in the garage of his house in Woolwich, Sydney, on December 22, 1989.

According to police, the 72-year-old had been attacked when he got out of his car at around 1am. He was tied up, assaulted and stabbed, and was robbed of around $25,000, which amounted to the takings from a greyhound meeting on the previous night.

The crime had remained unsolved for nearly thirty years until it was reopened last year by the Unsolved Homicide Squad.

Following a lengthy investigation, detectives swooped on the home of Terry Hickson in Berkeley early on Thursday morning, charging him with murder.

Anti-gambling activist

Hickson is the son of former punter and anti-gambling activist, the late Jim Hickson, who set up Gambler’s Help Line, a telephone counselling service, in 1995.

At a court appearance on Thursday afternoon, Hickson’s defence lawyer, Danny Lagopodis said that as Hickson suffered from several health problems including acute rheumatoid arthritis, he needed to be free to receive treatment.

Lagopodis also criticized the prosecution’s case for apparently relying solely on DNA evidence.

Police opposed an application for bail on the grounds that Hickson had a long criminal record and could pose a risk to the safety of the community.

After hearing arguments, bail was refused by magistrate Brett Thomas, who remanded the defendant in custody. Hickson will appear in Central Local Court on December 14.

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