Australian Associated Press | The Guardian
A global manhunt is underway for a prolific sexual predator believed to be responsible for 27 actual and attempted rapes in Sydney going back 30 years.
The man, believed to be aged between 45 and 64, committed the “blitz attack” rapes in a 16-year spree between 1985 and 2001, police said.
“We have now reached the point where we’re seeking help from the public,” Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Haddow, from the New South Wales police sex crimes squad, told reporters on Monday.
Investigators have released two identikit images, saying descriptions of the serial attacker’s physical build had changed over time.
But during each attack, he either brandished a knife, or warned his victims that he was carrying one, and spoke with an Australian accent.
He’s described as being about 160-180cm tall, with a dark complexion, dark, wavy hair, brown eyes, and a broad nose.
Police had originally begun investigating five sexual assaults in 2000 in what they named Task Force Doreen. When other cold cases were reviewed, the investigation grew to include 27 actual or attempted assaults.
Each case was linked by a combination of DNA and similarity in the way they were carried out. But despite attempts to match DNA using available records across Australia and the world, the attacker’s identity remained a mystery.
Some of the attacks happened in Sydney’s Centennial Park and others on the pathway between Bondi and Bronte beaches. The women were often threatened with a knife.
His physical description has changed over time. In the 1980s he was described being of a thin build, in the early 1990s of a medium build and in the late 1990s 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,” NSW police said in a statement on Monday.