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Serial sexual assault offender identified - Strike Force Doreen

Monday, 21 November 2022 12:21:21 PM

NSW Police detectives have used advancing technologies and traditional investigations to link the DNA of a man the offender in a series of historic actual and attempted sexual assaults across Sydney’s east.

Detectives from State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad established Strike Force Doreen in 2005 to investigate five sexual assaults which occurred in the Eastern Suburbs in 2000.

Following further inquiries and referrals from the Cold Case Justice Review Project, detectives expanded the investigation to include 31 attempted and actual sexual assault offences between 1985 and 2001.

The link between offences is a combination of DNA (12 incidents) and modus operandi (19 incidents).

The male offender targeted women aged between 14 and 55, which involved entering homes or abducting women while out jogging or walking.

Survivors described the man as being between 160-180cm tall, with a dark complexion, dark, wavy hair, brown eyes, and a broad nose.

His physique changed over time, and in the 1980s was described being of a thin build, then in the early 1990s was described as being of a medium build, and in the later 1990s was described as being of an athletic or muscular build.

He kept his face covered on all occasions, and in most cases, he was dressed in casual clothing, including tracksuits, hooded jumpers, football-style shorts, or singlets.

Police were told the man was always either armed with a knife or threatened the presence of a knife and spoke with an Australian accent.

Over the years, media reporting on the incidents referred to the suspect as ‘the Centennial Park rapist’ (1980s), the Bondi rapist (1990s), the tracksuit rapist (2000) and ‘the Bondi Beast’ (2016).

Each incident was thoroughly investigated at the time it was reported. Despite numerous appeals over the years to the community for information, all remained unsolved.

Attempts were made to match the DNA profile across Australia and internationally, but it wasn’t until advances were made in DNA technology that forensic experts were able to identify a number of men linked to the DNA chain.

Further investigations and forensic examinations, including additional Y-STR testing, revealed the DNA was linked to a man who died earlier this year, aged 66.

Further forensic testing was conducted at the Forensic and Analytical Science Service, and in September 2022, it was confirmed the man’s DNA matched the suspect profile.

Strike Force Doreen investigators have since contacted the survivors and advised the man has been identified, but due to the circumstances, no further legal action can be taken.

The finalisation of investigations under Strike Force Doreen provides an opportunity for the NSW Police Force to remind survivors of sexual violence to report matters to police at the earliest opportunity.

When there is forensic evidence available, an investigation can proceed at a later date, if the victim later chooses to move forward.

It’s acknowledged that reporting sexual violence can be distressing and traumatic, but it is always the choice of an individual whether to proceed with an investigation or not.

Further, the engagement of health and support services is as equally important an outcome as a successful prosecution, and police can assist with referrals to counselling and support services for victims of sexual violence.