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Sydney: Serial rapist ‘Beast of Bondi’ identified through DNA decades after attacks began

A serial rapist who spent decades terrorizing women in eastern Sydney has been identified using DNA technology linking him to a dozen confirmed assaults.

Grandfather Keith Simms, dubbed the ‘Beast of Bondi’, is also suspected of at least 19 more depraved attacks between 1985 and 2001, and possibly many more.

His sickening crimes all took place in Sydney’s eastern suburbs around Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi.

Unfortunately, Simms’ positive identification comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February at age 66.

DNA has linked Keith Simms (pictured) to a dozen assaults. He is also suspected of at least 19 more depraved attacks since 1985

The sickening crimes of Keith Simms (pictured) all took place in Sydney's eastern suburbs around Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi

The sickening crimes of Keith Simms (pictured) all took place in Sydney's eastern suburbs around Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi

The sickening crimes of Keith Simms (pictured) all took place in Sydney’s eastern suburbs around Bondi, with a very similar modus operandi

Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms attacked vulnerable women and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning.

He put his hand over their mouths, threatened to kill them with his knife, and then sexually assaulted them.

On other occasions, he also targeted women in remote areas walking alone.

His victims include girls as young as 13 and women as young as 55.

Detective Acting Inspector Shelley Johns, who helped solve the case, said the brutal and callous nature of the attacks still shocks even the most hardened detectives.

“I have not seen any studies with the number of crimes committed and the type of offenses as in this study,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“This is a woman’s worst nightmare: waking up in the middle of the night and someone standing over you with a knife, in a balaclava.”

Unfortunately, Simms' positive identification (pictured) comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February at age 66.

Unfortunately, Simms' positive identification (pictured) comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February at age 66.

Unfortunately, Simms’ positive identification (pictured) comes nine months too late to bring him to justice, as he died of kidney failure in February at age 66.

The 'Beast of Bondi' got its name from the area in which it carried out most of its attacks.  Pictured is Bondi Beach

The 'Beast of Bondi' got its name from the area in which it carried out most of its attacks.  Pictured is Bondi Beach

The ‘Beast of Bondi’ got its name from the area in which it carried out most of its attacks. Pictured is Bondi Beach

Over the years, NSW Police launched more than 30 investigations to try to find out who was behind the reign of terror.

A major breakthrough came in 2016 when DNA samples from rape scenes – some dating back 40 years – were linked to a male relative of Simms.

From this, officers from Strike Force Doreen were able to compile a “family tree” of 324 men, knowing that one of them must be the Beast of Bondi – who has also been dubbed “The Centennial Park Rapist” and “The Tracksuit Rapist.”

“Through the dedicated hard work of the Sex Crimes Police over the last six years, we were able to narrow that link down to one person and identify the contributor of that DNA,” said Sex Crimes Police Commander Jayne Doherty.

“No two people share the same DNA, which is why we’ve been able to get back to this one person.”

While investigators are devastated that they couldn’t bring Simms to justice, she said officers wanted victims to know they were certain it was Simms, so “women walking down the street are still wondering, is he Which?’

“It’s so important for victims/survivors to come forward at that time to preserve physical evidence, even if you can’t go to trial right now, we may be able to use it in investigations later,” Detective Doherty said. told the Daily Telegraph.

Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms (pictured) attacked vulnerable women and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning.  On other occasions, he also targeted women in remote areas walking alone

Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms (pictured) attacked vulnerable women and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning.  On other occasions, he also targeted women in remote areas walking alone

Armed with a knife and wearing a balaclava, Simms (pictured) attacked vulnerable women and girls by breaking into their homes in the middle of the night or early morning. On other occasions, he also targeted women in remote areas walking alone

A woman named Jennifer, 69, was told last month that the man who raped her in 1987 at her Randwick unit had finally been identified.

“I burst into tears,” she said. “It was so emotional. It is not a matter of forgiving and forgetting. Because I’ll never forget it,’ 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 and pregnant on Bondi Beach, said she felt “relief” when she found out he was dead.

‘Good, he can’t hurt anyone else. I’m not normally a horrible person, but I hope he suffered.’

Detective Doherty said the case shows that it is vital for victims to come forward at the time to preserve physical evidence, even if they are unable to bring a court case at the time, as their evidence could aid in police investigations later on.

Pictured are two artist impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified

Pictured are two artist impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified

Pictured are two artist impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified

Police believe there may have been many more victims attacked by Simms (pictured)

Police believe there may have been many more victims attacked by Simms (pictured)

Police believe there may have been many more victims attacked by Simms (pictured)

Some of Simms’ victims were backpackers visiting the Bondi area from abroad when he attacked them.

The women, abroad and in Australia, were contacted by police to let them know he had been identified.

Police believe there may be many more victims attacked by Simms by those who did not come forward at the time for reasons such as were traveling or did not want to go through the trauma or justice system.

Simms’ own family, which includes three children and five grandchildren, has also learned about his shocking double life.

Detectives said those who knew him cannot fathom how the National Parks and Wildlife employee, who also worked at Bonnie Doon Golf Club, committed such atrocities.

He had never been in trouble for serious offenses and had no mental illness, drug or alcohol problems.

“As far as we know, he was never on the radar during all the investigations and so he didn’t have all those normal triggers, so not having those probably helped to remain so anonymous,” Chief Inspector Doherty said.

For confidential information, advice and support, please contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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