Cops allowed to march at Sydney Mardi Gras after stand-off following double murder

Sarah Blake and Remy Varga
The Nightly
3 Min Read
In today’s episode, what James Packer told The Nightly about life after Crown, and why he’ll never do business in China again. Plus, Australia’s Ukraine shame and why NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb can’t get out of her own way.

The organisers of this weekend’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade and NSW Police have reached an agreement that will let officers march, as they resolved a stand-off that came in the wake of a double murder allegedly committed by a serving police officer.

The deal, which welcomes officers but not those wearing uniforms or carrying weapons, came two days after the board of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras asked NSW Police to stay away from the parade.

The request came after the murders of gay couple Jesse Baird, 26, and Luke Davies, 29, whose bodies were found south of Sydney on Tuesday, more than a week after they were killed in Paddington.

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NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb, whose handling of the fallout from the deaths of Baird and Davies has been criticised, welcomed the deal with Mardi Gras organisers.

“The Mardi Gras Board has reached an agreement with us that will allow NSW Police to march in this year’s parade,” Ms Webb said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

“Police have agreed not to in march in uniform, in consideration of current sensitivities.

“I am delighted that our LGBTQIA+ officers, as well as our other police who are allies and supporters, will be allowed to march this year as they have done for the past 20 years.

“The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an important event on the NSW Police calendar and as Commissioner, I am committed to continuing to strengthen the relationship between my organisation and the LGBTQIA+ community. I thank the Mardi Gras Board for the cordial discussions over the past few days.”

Murder-accused Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon is alleged to have killed Baird, with whom he had some kind of relationship, and Davies with his police-issued Glock pistol that he had checked out from Miranda police station.

Ms Webb has drawn criticism for taking three days to front the media after the alleged murders and on Tuesday morning defended police handling of the investigation in a televised interview on Seven’s Sunrise by quoting a song by Taylor Swift.

“There will always be haters. Haters like to hate. Isn’t that what Taylor says?” Ms Webb told Sunrise.

NSW detectives found the bodies of Baird and Davies concealed in surfboard bags covered in debris and rocks at a property in Bungonia, about 180km south of Sydney, on Tuesday after Const. Lamarre-Condon disclosed the location to investigators.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb addresses media during a press conference in Sydney, Tuesday, February 27, 2024. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb. Credit: DAN HIMBRECHTS/AAPIMAGE

On Wednesday an under-fire Commissioner Webb backtracked on a statement that she was “very grateful” to Const. Lamarre-Condon for revealing where he had allegedly hidden the bodies, telling Sky that she was “not perfect”.

“I’m not necessarily grateful to the accused but let me just put it this way, without that information we would still be searching,” she said.

Const. Lamarre-Condon, an aspiring actor who was obsessed with celebrities, reportedly made a bullying and harassment complaint against a NSW Police colleague hours before he handed himself in at Bondi police station on Friday.

Opposition leader Mark Speakman said NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley was “habitually missing in action” and the state needed a minister who could ensure confidence in police.

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