DNA links men to horror rapes: court

 

Two men have faced court after allegedly abducting women off the street and subjecting them to horrors including multiple rapes.

Craig William Minogue and Peter Michael Komiazyk's cases were heard in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday, after both were charged last year over the alleged kidnappings in the 1980s.

The court heard DNA matches of a "high calibre" linked the two men to the alleged terrifying crimes.

On November 22, 1985, police say a woman was taken by force in South Yarra in Melbourne's south and terrorised by the two men.

The woman was indecently assaulted and raped, police documents tendered to the court allege.

It is then alleged that on March 26, 1986, another woman was taken away by force in Nunawading in Melbourne's east.

Police say the woman was slapped, punched in the ribs, threatened, raped and sexually assaulted over two days.

Each man was hit with 38 charges in May, 2019.

They faced court for a committal hearing testing the evidence against them on Tuesday.

Komiazyk, 63, appeared in the online hearing via video with his female partner sitting beside him in what appeared to be his home.

The court heard DNA from the time was 100 billion times more likely to be from Komiazyk than another person.

Peter Reed — who now goes by Peter Komiazyk — arrives at court after being charged over two abductions and rapes in the 1980s. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Peter Reed — who now goes by Peter Komiazyk — arrives at court after being charged over two abductions and rapes in the 1980s. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Swabs were taken from five places on the victim, a blood sample, and a piece of clothing for analysis after the 1986 offence, with DNA also collected in 1985.

There were sperm and non-sperm DNA samples analysed.

Komiazyk's lawyer Malcolm Thomas quizzed Victoria Police forensic officer Kate Outteridge about the standards of analysis in the 1980s and 1990s, when the samples were re-examined.

She agreed that "the procedures in relation to preventing contamination have steadily improved and become more and more stringent".

She agreed that all of the samples were kept in the same bag for at least three months, and that she "couldn't exclude" that they could have been contaminated in the lab.

Mr Thomas said there had been a previous case of a man "wrongly convicted of rape on the basis of DNA evidence".

He said a procedure called reagent blank, used in the present day to help prevent DNA contamination, was not in use in the 1980s.

"Because the samples were stored within the laboratory, my view was that they could provide some information, they could be tested, and the results presented," Ms Outteridge said.

Minogue, 57, did not appear in the online hearing but was represented by his lawyer.

He is serving a life prison term for the 1986 Russell Street bombing, which was carried out on the day of the alleged second kidnapping.

Komiazyk - formerly named Peter Reed - was acquitted of involvement in the bombing of a central Melbourne police station.

The explosion killed police officer Angela Taylor and injured 22 others, as well as causing an estimated $1 million worth of damage.

The committal hearing continues.

Originally published as DNA links men to horror rapes: court


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