Australia police
New South Wales police have launched an international manhunt for a serial rapist accused of carrying out 27 attacks in 16 years (Representational image) Reuters

Australia's New South Wales police have launched a global manhunt for a serial rapist allegedly involved in 27 cases of sexual assaults carried out between 1985 and 2001. On Monday (1 August), the NSW police raised an international appeal to provide any information on the man that could help them identify him as they continue to investigate the attacks, which were committed primarily in state capital Sydney.

Two – artist's impression – images of the attacker have been released by the police on their official Facebook page. It is believed that the man aged between 45 and 64 allegedly committed a series of sexual attacks in a span of 16 years.

"For more than a decade, Strike Force Doreen [a unit established to investigate sex crimes] detectives have been conducting extensive inquiries, which add to the work conducted by their colleagues for 20 years prior. While we don't believe any further offences have been committed by this man since 2001, we would always remind the community to be vigilant and look out for each other," Sex Crimes Squad Commander, detective acting superintendent Mick Haddow, said.

The man is believed to be between 160 and 180cm in height, has dark complexion, "dark wavy" hair, has brown eyes and a broad nose. He allegedly attacked women between 14 and 55 years of age and kept his face covered while overpowering his victims. The perpetrator would mostly wear a tracksuit, a hooded jumper, football-style shorts or a singlet.

According to a police statement, the attacker's physique changed over time. In the 1980s he was thought to sport a lean body, but in the early 1990s he reportedly gained weight and had a medium build, however, a few years later his physique was described as muscular.

Further, it is believed that the attacker always carried a knife and spoke in an Australian accent.

During investigations, detectives found that a common link between all the cases was a combination of DNA and the way they were carried out. Strike Force Doreen detectives have attempted to match the DNA profile of the attacker across Australia and international agencies, but with little success.

Now, police are requesting the general public globally to help them with their investigations. Also, they are open to speak with anyone who may have lived in the area where attacks happened and recalls seeing a man matching the attacker's description.

"If at any time you feel unsafe or unsure of your surroundings, please seek assistance, and if you have been a victim of crime, contact police immediately," Haddow said in the statement.

Police are appealing for information as investigations continue into a series of historical sexual assaults in Sydney’s East.Detectives from State Crime Command’s Sex Crimes Squad established Strike Force Doreen in 2005 to investigate five sexual assaults which occurred in the Eastern Suburbs in 2000.Following further inquiries and referrals from the Cold Case Justice Review Project, detectives have expanded the investigation to include 27 attempted and actual sexual assault offences between 1985 and 2001.The unknown male offender targeted women aged between 14 and 55.Each incident was thoroughly investigated at the time it was reported. Despite numerous appeals over the years to the community for information, all remain unsolved.The link between offences is a combination of DNA and modus operandi.Strike Force Doreen detectives have attempted to match the DNA profile across Australia and internationally, but they have not been able to identify the man.Investigators believe the man would now be aged between 45 and 64, and describe him as being about 160-180cm tall, but more likely to be less than 170cm tall; with a dark complexion, dark, wavy hair; brown eyes, and a broad nose.His physique changed over time, and in the 1980s was described being of a thin build, then in the early 1990s was described as being of a medium build, and in the later 1990s was described as being of an athletic or muscular build.He kept his face covered on all occasions, and in most cases, he was dressed in casual clothing, including tracksuits, hooded jumpers, football-style shorts, or singlets.Police were told the man was always either armed with a knife or threatened the presence of a knife, and spoke with an Australian accent.As inquiries continue, police are appealing for information from the community that may assist with their inquiries.In particular, they would like to speak with anyone who may have lived in the area between 1984 and 2001, and recalls seeing a man matching the description acting suspiciously.Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Haddow, said investigators were committed to identifying and locating this man, and putting him before the courts.“For more than a decade, Strike Force Doreen detectives have been conducting extensive inquiries, which adds to the work conducted by their colleagues for 20 years prior,” Det A/Supt Haddow said.“While we don’t believe any further offences have been committed by this man since 2001, we would always remind the community to be vigilant and look out for each other.“If at any time you feel unsafe or unsure of your surroundings, please seek assistance, and if you have been a victim of crime, contact police immediately,” Det A/Supt Haddow said.Further information about sexual assault reporting options is available online at: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/adult_sexual_assault

Posted by NSW Police Force on Sunday, July 31, 2016