Australia: Police post $500,000 reward in hunt for Melbourne laneway rapist - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaPolice post $500,000 reward in hunt for Melbourne laneway rapist

23:05  17 june  2019
23:05  17 june  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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Police post $500,000 reward in hunt for Melbourne laneway rapist© Victoria Police Police want to talk to this man. Anyone who knows this man, or recognises him is asked to come forward. Amy* was walking towards a tram stop on Flinders Street after a night out with friends when she felt an arm around her shoulder.

The man, who emerged from the doorway of United Backpackers, began to ask her questions: what was her name, where she was from. She felt uncomfortable and gave short responses in the hope he would lose interest and leave her alone.

But he suddenly tightened his grip, put her in a headlock and dragged her into a secluded laneway, with high metal gates that he locked, and raped her.

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Amy, now 19 years old, has spoken for the first time about the horrendous assault on June 9 last year, as police announce a $500,000 reward for information that leads detectives to her attacker.

Amy could hear people walking past on Flinders Street as she was attacked. She heard one passerby say: "I think there's someone in the laneway."

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But help never came.

Amy eventually managed to break free. She unlocked the gates and ran screaming, past the Young & Jackson Hotel, to Swanston Street before three men stopped to help her.

She didn't tell them what had happened, but they called a friend of hers and organised for her to get an Uber home.

"I was still not able to comprehend for myself let alone explain to someone else what happened so I just went home," Amy recalls.

She tried three times before she was able to report the attack to police six weeks later. She only recently told her parents.

"It made things for my family quite difficult as I hadn't really been telling anyone about any of it," Amy says.

"I didn't know how to respond myself ... I didn't know how other people would respond."

Detectives have made two previous appeals to the public for helping finding Amy's attacker, but they have not yet been able to identify a man captured by CCTV cameras on Swanston Street.

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He appears to be in his early 20s, of African appearance and was wearing a black puffy jacket with red lining.

There has been no other attack of a similar nature that has been reported to police.

Detective acting Sergeant Ben Leonard said it was a crime of opportunity, although the laneway, used for garbage disposal, was unlocked for a three-hour window each night.

"It was so brazen. It was the most populated part of Melbourne," Sergeant Leonard said.

"There's trams, there's trains, there's taxis, there's people walking around and he's done it right at the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street."

Sex crimes boss, Detective Inspector Steve Wilson, hopes the $500,000 reward will bring people who recognise the man, or have information about the attack, forward.

"We do everything we can for our victims [and] this is somebody we need to get off the street," Mr Wilson said.

Since the attack Amy has been in such a state of hypervigilance and unable to focus that she has dropped out of university.

She had never been scared about walking alone before the attack.

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"I could see people [on the night of the attack]. It didn’t seem dangerous. I didn’t feel unsafe at all ... it was streets that I knew ... my friends weren’t even that far away," Amy says.

"I always felt quite confident and I’d know what to do in that situation and know how to look after myself and protect myself."

But when she tried to go out with friends recently, Amy had a panic attack and had to be hospitalised.

She can't feel safe while her attacker walks free.

"If people have information, it would take a lot of pain away for me," she said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers, and can do so anonymously on 1800 333 000 or online.

Anyone needing support can call the Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732, or visit www.1800respect.org.au.

*The victim's name has been changed for legal reasons.

Hunt on for second man after victim found naked, wounded in Carlisle.
The man had wandered the streets of Carlisle, bleeding and pleading for help, until eventually motorists stopped to help him and phoned emergency services. © 9 News Perth CCTV captured the man's walk through the streets. Following an investigation, Cannington detectives charged a 52-year-old man after executing a search warrant at a residence in Daly Street just after 6pm on Sunday. On Monday he faced court charged with deprivation of liberty and two counts of committing an unlawful act or omission with the intent to harm. How To Get A Home Loan With 5% Deposit Find out more on Finder Ad Finder.com.

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