A serial rapist who terrorised women in Sydney‘s east for decades has been identified using DNA technology linking him to a dozen confirmed sexual assaults.
Grandfather Keith Simms, who was dubbed the ‘Beast of Bondi’, is also suspected of at least 19 more depraved attacks from 1985 to 2001, and possibly many more.
His sickening crimes all happened in the eastern suburbs of Sydney surrounding Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi.
Sadly, the positive identification of Simms comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February, aged of 66.
DNA has linked Keith Simms (pictured) to a dozen sexual assaults. He is also suspected of at least 19 more depraved attacks since 1985
Keith Simms’ (pictured) sickening crimes all happened in the eastern suburbs of Sydney surrounding Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi
Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms would attack vulnerable woman and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning.
He would put his hand across their mouth, threaten to kill them with his knife and then sexually assault them.
On other occasions he would also target women in isolated areas walking alone.
His victims include girls as young as 13 and woman as old as 55.
Detective Acting Inspector Shelley Johns, who helped break the case, said the brazen and callous nature of the attacks still shock even the most hardened detectives
‘I’ve not seen any investigations with the number of offences and type of offending committed as in this investigation,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘This is a woman’s worst nightmare: to wake up in the middle of night and someone standing over the top of you with a knife, in a balaclava.’
Sadly, the positive identification of Simms (pictured) comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February, aged of 66.
The ‘Beast of Bondi’ was named that due to the area he carried out most of his attacks in. Pictured is Bondi Beach
Over the years, NSW Police launched more than 30 investigations to try and uncover who was behind the reign of terror.
A major breakthrough came in 2016 when DNA samples taken from rape scenes – some dating back 40 years – were linked to a male relative of Simms.
From this, officers attached to Strike Force Doreen were able to put together a ‘family tree’ of 324 males, knowing one of them had to be the Beast of Bondi – who was also referred to as ‘The Centennial Park Rapist’ and ‘The Tracksuit Rapist’.
‘Through the dedicated hard work over the last six years of the sex crimes squad we were able to then bring that link down to a single person and identify the contributor of that DNA,’ commander of the sex crime squad, Jayne Doherty, said.
‘No two people share the same DNA, and that’s why we’ve been able to come back to this one person.’
Although investigators are devastated they could not bring Simms to justice, she said officers wanted to let victims know they were certain it was Simms so ‘women who are walking down the street are still wondering: Is that him?’
‘It is so important for victims/survivors to come forward at the time to preserve physical evidence even if you can’t face a court matter at this time, later down the track we may be able to use it in investigations as well,’ Detective Superintendent Doherty told the Daily Telegraph.
Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms (pictured) would attack vulnerable woman and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning. On other occasions he would also target women in isolated areas walking alone
A woman called Jennifer, 69, was told last month that the man who raped her in her Randwick unit in 1987 had finally been identified.
‘I burst into tears,’ she said. ‘It was just so emotional. It’s not a case of forgive and forget. Because I’ll never forget,’ she said.
‘And I’ll probably never forgive him for changing my life and everyone else’s. What gave him the right?’
Another victim named Jay, who was just 16 when she was brutally raped walking on Bondi Beach and fell pregnant, said she felt ‘relief’ when finding out he was dead.
‘Good, he can’t hurt anyone else. I’m not normally a horrible person but I hope he suffered.’
Detective Superintendent Doherty said the case reveals that it’s vital for victims to come forward at the time to preserve physical evidence even if they can’t face a court matter at the time, as their evidence could later help with police investigations.
Pictured are two artists’ impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified
The police believe there may be many more victims who were assaulted by Simms (pictured)
Some of Simms’ victims had been backpackers who were visiting the Bondi area from abroad when he attacked them.
The women, overseas and in Australia, were contacted by the police to let them know he had been identified.
Police believe there may be many more victims who were assaulted by Simms by who did not come forward at the time for reasons such as they were travelling or did not want to go through the trauma or court system.
Simms’ own family including three children and five grandchildren have also made aware of his shocking double life.
Detectives said those who knew him cannot fathom how the National Parks and Wildlife worker who was also employed at the Bonnie Doon Golf Club, committed such atrocities.
He had never been in trouble with the law for any serious offences and did not suffer from mental illness, drug or alcohol problems.
‘As far as we know, through all the investigations, he was never on the radar and so he didn’t have all those normal triggers, so by not having those, probably helped stay so anonymous,’ Detective Superintendent Doherty said.
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