Escort ex-murder suspect’s new charges dropped after tragedy
A former suspect in the 1994 disappearance of former model and sex worker Revelle Balmain has had sexual assault charges against him dropped after the complainant died in a fiery explosion.
Rosalyn Rosenberg was due to give evidence in a sexual assault case brought against Gavin Samer, but the prosecution's case has been abandoned after she died in a fire.
Samer was named in a 1998 inquest as a former person of interest in the "Cinderella" cold case involving Ms Balmain more than two decades ago.
He had faced two indecent assault charges in which the complainant was 58-year-old Ms Rosenberg, who died after a fire ripped through her Flood St, Bondi apartment on January 2.
Ms Rosenberg was found fighting for life inside the unit before being rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson at the time said the fire was being treated as a mental health incident. The fire was investigated by the State Crime Command's Arson Unit before a report was prepared for the Coroner.
Ms Rosenberg's death means the aggravated sexual touching without consent and sexual touching charges against Samer can no longer be pursued in Waverley Local Court and had to be dropped.
There is no suggestion Samer had any involvement in the fire or Ms Rosenberg's death.
In 2019, Samer was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalking or intimidating Ms Rosenberg at her Bondi apartment.
He was sentenced to a one year community correction order and fined $1,500. Mr Samer has appealed the convictions, which are listed to be heard in the District Court on September 27.
An inquest into the death of Ms Balmain heard the 52-year-old became a suspect in the disappearance of Ms Balmain in 1994 because he was the last person to see her alive when he hired her for a sexual escapade on November 5, 1994. He has never been charged over the death.
Hours after Ms Balmain met Mr Samer, she called a friend to say she was leaving the hotel to meet her for drinks at the Royal Hotel in Paddington - only to never arrive.
The young woman's belongings were found strewn across several Kingsford streets in the days later.
NSW Police confirmed the investigation into Ms Balmain's death was still going.
"Investigations into the 1994 disappearance of Revelle Balmain are continuing under Strike Force Aramaca police statement said. "A $250,000 reward remains on offer by the NSW Government for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person/s responsible for her death."
Samer has always maintained that he dropped Ms Balmain at The Red Tomato Inn at Kingsford that evening, but police say there were no sightings of her there and her body has never been found.
Samer was named a person of interest in the young Sydney woman's disappearance during a 1998 and 1999 coronial inquest. The owner of an escort agency where Ms Balmain worked, Zoran Stanojevic, was also named as a person of interest.
The inquest heard Ms Balmain intended to throw in the towel on the sex industry and Mr Samer was to be her last client.
That inquest handed down an open finding that her death was a homicide and found Mr Samer had "no plausible motive" to murder her.
He has fervently denied any involvement in her disappearance and has never been charged
Originally published as Escort ex-murder suspect's new charges dropped after fatal fire