Sexual Crimes Squad detectives are hoping a $500,000 reward will be the key to solving a serious sexual assault that occurred in Burnley over 35 years ago.
The female victim was asleep alone in her Adam Street apartment on Wednesday, 27 May 1985 when an unknown man gained entry to the property via a window about 2am.
Once inside the home, the man threatened the then 69-year-old woman with a knife before seriously physically and sexually assaulting her in a prolonged attack.
She remained in intensive care for eight weeks as a result of the injuries she sustained during the attack.
The offender was described by the victim at the time as having blonde hair and blue eyes.
The incident received significant media coverage in 1985 and police subsequently made a number of appeals to the public for information in an attempt to locate the offender.
At the time, the sexual and physical assault was described as “vicious” and “brutal”.
The officer in charge of the Sexual Crimes Squad, Detective Inspector Juliann Goldrick, said police are hopeful that today’s appeal could lead to a breakthrough in the case.
“Experience has shown us with cases like this that a lot can change over time,” she said.
“There were a number of calls from people with information at the time and we are appealing for those people to contact us again.
“Our investigators haven’t given up on the possibility on solving this case, but we really need the community’s help.
“The original investigators for the incident all recall this incident in vivid detail Due to the nature of it. They are forever hopeful of finding the person responsible.
“If you know anything about this incident, then now is the time for you to come forward and speak to us.
“This was a violent attack on one of the most vulnerable members of our community and we are hopeful of finally being able to give the family some answers and hold the perpetrator to account.”
The victim’s daughter, who was 42 at the time, recalls the pain her mother endured in the months following the attack.
“I want whoever is responsible to take ownership of what they have done. I want them to front up. I just want police to get the mongrels. It destroyed her life after that and she was never the same,” she said.
“My mother may no longer be here but the monster who did this to her needs to be held accountable for the pain he caused her, both physically and emotionally.
“I just hope someone can provide the crucial piece of information police need to solve this for our mum so she can rest in peace.”
A reward of up to $500,000 will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Commissioner of Police for information leading to the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the person or persons responsible for the sexual assault.