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Detectives hope a $ 500,000 bounty will be the key to solving a cold case where an elderly woman was threatened with a knife and sexually assaulted in inner-east Melbourne more than 35 years ago.

The woman was sleeping alone in her Adam Street apartment in Burnley on May 27, 1985, when an unknown man climbed out of the window around 2 a.m.

The man threatened the then 69-year-old woman with a knife, before being seriously sexually assault her in a “prolonged attack”.
Burnley’s apartment where the sexual assault occurred. (Victoria Police)

He remained in intensive care for eight weeks due to his serious injuries.

The sexual and physical assault was described as “vicious” and “brutal” at the time.

The victim’s daughter, who was 42 years old at the time, recalled the pain her mother endured months after the attack.

“I want whoever is responsible to take responsibility for what they have done. I want them to confront. I just want the police to catch the mestizos. After that, they destroyed their life and it was never the same again,” he said.

The police have not given up hope of finding the offender. (Victoria Police)

“My mother may no longer be here, but the monster who did this to her must be held accountable for the pain it caused her, both physically and emotionally.

“I just hope that someone can provide the crucial information the police need to solve this for our mother and that she can rest in peace.”

The attack received significant media coverage in 1985, and the police made several appeals to the public for information to locate the offender.

A reward of up to $ 500,000 will be paid at the discretion of the Chief Police Commissioner for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person (s) responsible for the sexual assault.

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The officer in charge of the sex crimes squad, Detective Inspector Juliann Goldrick, said police were hopeful that today’s appeal could lead to a breakthrough in the case.

“Experience has shown us with cases like this that many things can change over time,” he said.

“There were a number of calls from people with information at that time and we are asking that those people contact us again.

“Our investigators have not given up on solving this case, but we really need the help of the community.”

Newspaper clippings from the time of the attack. (Victoria Police)

Det. In sp. Goldrick said all of the original investigators remember the attack in “vivid detail” and were always hoping to find the person responsible.

“This was a violent attack against one of the most vulnerable members of our community and we are hopeful that we can finally give some answers to the family and hold the perpetrator accountable,” he said.

“If you know anything about this incident, now is the time for you to come forward and speak to us.”

The assailant was described by the victim at the time as a man with blond hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800333000.

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