THE victim of a 1986 Ballarat sexual assault yesterday told how she thought she would never see her family again.
Sarah (not her real name) was speaking out after DNA tests linked her Peel Street carpark attack with two other unsolved assaults, while a third was connected because of its similarity to the other cases.
Speaking at a Victoria Police press conference in Melbourne, Sarah, 13 at the time, said she was ill and lying on the backseat of her stepmother’s car when she was attacked on January 30, 1986.
The man got into the car about 1.15pm while her stepmother was getting her prescription filled, grabbed her hair and sexually assaulted her.
“There was just fear, I didn’t know if I was going to see my family again,” Sarah said.
DNA tests recently showed the same man attacked a 14-year-old girl in Victoria Park on December 1, 1985, grabbing her when she rode past on her bike, taking her to a tip, threatening her with a knife and forcing her to drink beer before sexually assaulting her.
He approached her again in March 1986 on her way home from school but she screamed and ran off.
The offender also attacked a 15-year-old girl in Heidelberg on January 20, 1986, and a 16-year-old girl in Mentone on August 2, 1986, both times after they stopped to help him fix his car.
Sarah thought the police had found her attacker and was shocked when contacted by police after the DNA tests came back.
“My family thought it was best not to talk about it. Now I’m having counselling.”
Sarah urged anyone with information to come forward, especially as the man is believed to have a Ballarat connection.
All four victims described the car used as a green station wagon with a white roof.
The offenderis described as being between 20 and 30 at the time, about 177 centimetres tall with light brown hair, a moustache and a fair complexion.
If anyone has any information, contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.