Friday, June 21, 2024

Police launch new appeal to solve 1982 rape

Detectives from the Victoria Police Sexual Crimes Squad are hoping new information will lead to a breakthrough in the investigation into a sexual assault in Melbourne CBD more than 40 years ago.

Police say that at midnight on May 6th, 1982 a woman, then aged 21, had just finished work at her second job at a bar in Melbourne CBD.

“Once her shift finished, she began walking back to her car which was parked by the Yarra River. She walked through the CBD to Swanston Street and then onto Batman Avenue,” Victoria Police said in a statement today.

“She had intended to catch a tram from a stop on Batman Avenue – which is now where Princes Bridge stands – but she missed the tram.”

Police say the woman remembers noticing a man wearing a white suit and carrying a briefcase at the tram stop.

Across the road from the tram stop, she also recalls seeing a young man leaning up against a bluestone wall and looking down at the river.

“After missing the tram, she decided to continue walking along the banks of the Yarra to get to her car. She remembers it had been raining that night.”

“While walking to her car, she heard noises, which she initially thought to be rain drops falling on the ground. She turned around and noticed the man who had been looking at the water was about 100 metres behind her.

“Concerned that he was following her, she turned around and began walking faster to get back to her car.”

Police say she recalls hearing the man running, before he attacked her from behind.

“He grabbed hold of her neck, and she dropped her shoes and bag on the ground before struggling with the man.”

“The man pulled her towards the banks of the river, knocking her backwards to the ground. He choked the woman, before sexually assaulting her.”

After the attack, Police say the offender said to his young victim, “I know where you live and I’m going to come and kill you if you tell anyone”, before walking back along the river towards the city.

The man also told the victim his name was Stephen.

“Investigators have been unable to confirm if this is his actual name and remain open to the possibility that it may not be,” Police said.

“The matter was reported to police at the time, however despite a significant investigation over many years, no one has ever been arrested in relation to the incident.”

Detectives from the Sexual Crimes Squad’s historical investigations team are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about the incident and who may have been responsible.

“This was a brutal and opportunistic attack which had enduring effects on the life of a young woman who had just been trying to get home from work – something everybody should be able to do safely,” said Detective Inspector Mark Burnett.

“On the other hand, this man has lived these last 40 years with relative freedom and no repercussions yet for what he did.

“It is as important as ever that the person responsible is brought to justice and I absolutely believe that with the right information, it can be solved.

“Historical investigations are unique in that updates to science, methodology and legislation allow us to progress a case in a way that may not have been possible at the time of the incident, so receiving information even 40 years later can still make an enormous difference.

“As we always say – people’s circumstances can change over time, and this appeal might be the prompt needed to help close a terrible chapter in someone’s life. If you know something, now is the time to do the right thing and come forward.”

The man is described as being around 16-18 years old, approximately 190cm tall, with brown hair and stubble on his face, possibly a goatee.

His hair was styled up, as was common at the time, and he was wearing a watch that had a round face with a light on it and numbers that were raised.

Victoria Police is committed to investigating matters of sexual assault and bringing those responsible to justice, no matter how much time has passed.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au

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