Police charge man over four historical sexual assaults – Strike Force McCoy

Detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad have charged a man after a breakthrough in an investigation into a series of sexual offences against women more than 15 years ago.

In March 2004, the NSW Police Force established Strike Force McCoy to investigate 13 separate sexual assaults between Saturday 23 August 2003 and Tuesday 2 November 2004 across the Sydney Metropolitan area.

The incidents were linked at the time by location and modus operandi, with four linked by a common DNA profile located at the crime scenes.

Despite exhaustive investigations at the time, including assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the exploration of more than 3000 persons of interest, no one was charged over the incidents.

In February 2020, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commenced a comprehensive investigative and forensic review.

Earlier this year, criminalistics experts from NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic and Analytical Science Service (FASS) advised they had established a familial DNA link in the case.

Further inquiries were conducted with assistance from the Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command’s DNA Management Unit, which identified a DNA match.

Following further investigations by Strike Force McCoy detectives, a 51-year-old man was arrested by South West Metropolitan Operations Support Group at Panania, about 6am today (Monday 29 November 2021), and taken to Bankstown Police Station.

The Panania man has been charged with five counts of sexual intercourse without consent, two counts of aggravated enter dwelling with intent – knowing people there, two counts of assault with act of indecency, two counts of take or detain person with intent to obtain advantage, incite person 16 years or over to commit act of indecency, inflict actual bodily harm to have sexual intercourse with victim, and, attempt choke or strangle etc with intent to commit indictable offence.

Police will allege in court the man is responsible for four separate serious aggravated break and enter and sexual assaults in 2003 and 2004 in Croydon, Bondi, Bexley and Marrickville.

He has been refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court today.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said today’s result highlighted the importance of ensuring the NSW Police Force has access to cutting-edge technology.

“We have some of the world’s best investigators in this state and the NSW Government is committed to continuing to provide them with the technology and resources they need to serve justice,” Mr Elliott said.

“Importantly, this arrest sends a strong warning to would-be criminals that you never know when police may catch up with you.

“If you want to wreak havoc in our state and make people lock their doors and windows in fear of being raped, detectives won’t forget about you until you are in gaol,” Mr Elliott said.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said the arrest was the result of investigators employing new technological advancements in genetics.

“Since 2020, detectives have painstakingly recanvassed more than 17 years’ worth of intelligence and forensic evidence, which subsequently provided the breakthrough we needed to further those inquiries,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Investigators utilised technological advancements in familial DNA not dissimilar to those which enabled the FBI to apprehend the so-called ‘Golden State Killer’ in the United States last year.

“What has resulted is the arrest of a person who we allege committed some of the worst sexual violence offences that Sydney has seen and created fear across the city.

“I sincerely hope the arrest of this person provides some relief for his alleged victims, and signals to others that police will never stop in their pursuit for justice for victims of sexual abuse,” Det Supt Doherty said.

Investigations under Strike Force McCoy are continuing.

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with information about sexual violence or concerns relating to suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

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