TDoR 1978 / 1978 / September / 12 / Adele Bailey

Adele Bailey

Age 23

12 Sep 1978
Bonnie Doon, Victoria (Australia)

TDoR list ref: Bailey

Adele Bailey
Adele Bailey [photo:]

Adele was shot and her body discovered in a mineshaft in Bonnie Doon in 1995. She had been missing since 1978.

Evidence suggests that a police officer was responsible for her murder, and that his colleagues helped him to dispose of her body.

Adele had surgery in Egypt in 1976. Probably that was at the clinic of Hirschfeld's colleague Ludwig Levy-Lenz who fled from the Nazis and started a practice there in 1939, although Levy-Lenz had died earlier.

Adele worked as a prostitute in St Kilda, Melbourne, where she was arrested by police detective Denis Tanner.

In 1978 she moved to Bonnie Doon, 115 km away. She wrote to her sister that she was having an affair with Denis Tanner, and that she was afraid about a court case where she was to give evidence against an undercover policeman. She then disappeared.

In 1995, seventeen years after her disappearance, Adele’s skeleton was found in a deserted mineshaft near Tanner’s property. Later the same year, [Jennifer] Tanner’s farmhouse was burnt down. The police and others assumed a link between the two killings [the other being that of his sister-in-law, Jennifer Tanner on 14th November 1984], and Denis Tanner was the only person who knew both women.

In 2010, 32 years after the murder of Adele, there was a breakthrough in the investigation. Evidence was given to the Office of Police Integrity that Adele was at a party with several police officers and performed sex on one of them (not Denis Tanner). He later that evening found out that she was transsexual, went berserk and beat her to death. The other officers present covered it up.


THE 32-year mystery over the murder of transsexual prostitute Adele Bailey has taken a dramatic twist, with explosive new evidence implicating several former officers being given to the Office of Police Integrity. OPI investigators have been told the alleged killer is an ex-detective with strong links to serving senior members of Victoria Police.

Previously named suspect Denis Tanner is not the former officer identified in the new information.

But Mr Tanner has allegedly known the new suspect since before Ms Bailey died in 1978.

Detectives who interviewed Mr Tanner after Ms Bailey's body was found near a Tanner family property in 1995 accused him of helping to dispose of the body.


May 14, 1978. Denis Tanner arrested and charged transsexual prostitute Adele Bailey during a blitz on street hookers in St Kilda.

September 12, 1978. Evidence gathered years later suggested this was most likely the day Ms Bailey, 23, was murdered.

September 21, 1978. Ms Bailey failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

November 14, 1984. Denis Tanner's sister-in-law Jennifer died from two gunshot wounds to the head at her Bonnie Doon home.

October 18, 1985. Coroner Hugh Adams recorded open finding at the first Jennifer Tanner inquest, despite claims by some police that she committed suicide.

July 20, 1995. Ms Bailey's body found in Bonnie Doon mineshaft near Tanner family property.

Source: The Age, Melbourne, Australia, July 4, 1998

Report added: 24 Feb 2019. Last updated: 13 Jan 2021

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