A police image compiled from descriptions of a serial rapist operating in Hamilton in 2007. Photo: Supplied A woman who was raped by Hamilton’s serial rapist revisits the scene near the main street. Photo: Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
The press conference about the 2007 serial rapist case will be held at the Hamilton Central Police Station. Photo: Bruce Mercer/Fairfax NZ
Police have linked a man found dead in Perth with the rape of at least three women in New Zealand in 2007.
Details of the breakthrough were revealed by Detective Inspector Chris Page during a press conference in Hamilton on Wednesday.
The offender left New Zealand in 2008 at the age of 28, Page said. He had been working as a bouncer at a Hamilton bar. He was identified through DNA lodged through Interpol in 2015, which was matched to the body found in Perth.
It is only the DNA evidence that relates the man to the investigation into the 2007 serial rapist case, which Hamilton police dubbed Operation Phil. Page said that in May 2013, the same man was arrested in Australia for a non-sexual minor offence. It was at that point DNA was taken.
The man died in non-suspicious circumstances in July 2013 – weeks after his DNA was taken – and police would not be releasing his name. However, they did say the Operation Phil file would be closed.
Operation Phil was investigating the rapes in 2007 of three women in Hamilton in as many months, all tied to the same offender.
On Wednesday morning, one of the three victims said a detective had informed her the suspect had been found dead by his own hand in Australia.
She spoke out six months after the 2007 attack in an effort to shed new light on the police investigation.
The then 43-year-old from Hamilton said the attack left her traumatised.
She was the third of the man’s alleged victims but unlike the first two, was not coaxed into a car by the young man.
Instead she said she was approached as she sat in the central business district in the early hours of a Saturday morning.
She had been drinking at home and had gone to a 24-hour cafe in the city to buy food and cigarettes when the man sat down beside her in Victoria Street.
“I said to him, do you know where to get any tinnies from? He said, yeah, come with me. He wasn’t scary looking or anything. I wasn’t worried at the time.”
The man, who was in his 20s with shoulder-length blond hair, led the woman behind a building on the river side of the street, where he suddenly demanded she get on her knees.
After sexually violating and raping the woman, he smacked her in the head and punched her in the face.
When the offender finally fled, the woman found a couple who helped her call police from a pay-phone.
In January 2008, he said police had been working through a process of elimination from a list of more than 1000 names since the attacks began in April 2007.
Family background inquiries had gone as far afield as Australia, he said, but no single suspect was believed to have fled across the Tasman.
“I’m confident we will get this guy . . .” he said then, “but it’s going to take time.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.