Woman viewed compensation as ‘hush money’ for 1985 rape, court told

A woman abducted from a Melbourne street and raped 35 years ago told a friend police did not want to prioritise her case and that she considered compensation she later received as “hush money”, a court has heard.

Craig Minogue and Peter Komiazyk are accused of abducting and raping two young women, one of them from Chapel Street, South Yarra on November 22, 1985 and the other on Ashwood Drive, Nunawading on March 26, 1986.

Craig Minogue is accused of abducting and raping two young women in the 1980s.

Police allege the women – who were aged 18 and 19 at the time – were blindfolded and driven to nearby properties where they were assaulted, repeatedly raped and then dumped hours later. One of the women died in 2008, aged 41.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that the teenager abducted from South Yarra, who was selling flowers when she was grabbed and forced into a white van, told a friend over the following days what happened.

“She was extremely upset about it but [she] had had previous problems with sexual assault before, which I knew about, so she didn’t have any problem speaking about it,” the friend told a hearing that will determine whether Mr Minogue and Mr Komiazyk face trial.

The friend said the complainant knew the names of the men police believe attacked her in the months afterwards. But she was told police wouldn’t push for the case to be prosecuted because they didn’t want to “distract” from a separate investigation involving Mr Minogue, Mr Komiazyk and two other men.

Details of that investigation cannot be reported for legal reasons.

Peter Komiazyk, previously known as Peter Reed, in the 1980s.

The young woman was “probably hurt” by the police decision at the time, her friend said, “but given her past experiences I don’t think she expected anything different”.

“I was shocked … what happened to her was being [swept] under the carpet,” the friend said.

The complainant later received money under victims of crime compensation, the court heard, and bought a house. She referred to the compensation as “hush money”, her friend said, but in a “matter-of-fact” manner.

“Even though she called it that, it wasn’t something that had upset her as she had moved on,” the friend said.

Acting Sergeant Paul McLean, who lived near Chapel Street at the time, said he saw Mr Komiazyk driving a white ute several times in the months after the abduction.

In a summary released by the court, police say the teenager in Nunawading was walking to her boyfirend’s home when two men approached her, claimed they were police and forced her into a car. She was then blindfolded, driven to a house and repeatedly raped.

She was dumped in Ringwood East about three hours after her abduction and after removing her blindfold, caught a glimpse of a silver sedan speeding away. Police believe it was a Holden Commodore stolen about a month earlier.

Police allege they established a connection between the accused men and a house that was a five-minute drive from where the woman was abducted in Nunawading.

Police also allege that DNA samples taken from one of the women found Mr Minogue was 120 million times more likely to be a contributor than another person, while Mr Komiazyk was 100 billion times more likely to be a contributor than someone else.

Detective Senior Constable Caitlin Jones, who investigated the incidents in 2017 and 2018, said she discussed the cases with original investigators, who believed they knew who abducted and raped the women.

The discussions helped recent investigators “connect the dots”, Detective Senior Constable Jones said.

A friend of the Nunawading complainant said she did not believe what her friend reported because for years she never saw Mr Minogue’s name connected to the case.

Mr Minogue, 59, and Mr Komizayk, 63, both face 38 charges including abduction by force and aggravated rape. Their committal hearing will return to court next week.

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