Police Reckon They’ve Identified Serial Rapist The Bondi Beast, But The Timing Is Unfortunate

bondi beast, serial rapist from eastern suburbs, identified by police

NSW Police reckons it’s finally solved the identity of serial rapist the “Bondi Beast”, also known as the “Centennial Park Rapist”, after a man’s DNA was linked to a dozen historic attacks.

The Bondi Beast is thought to have operated between the 1985 and 2001, and was the suspect behind 31 unsolved crimes. The crimes in question varied wildly — ages of the victims ranged from 13 to 55 years old and they didn’t fit a consistent profile, while attacks took place both in public (like parks or walking trails), and in women’s homes. However, all of them were violent sexual assaults.

Now, advances in DNA technology have led Crimes Squad detectives to suspect Keith Simms, 66, of being behind the attacks which took place over 16 years. But it’s kind of complicated. For starters, Keith Simms died in February this year.

Keith Simms
Keith Simms. Source: Facebook.

NSW Police formed Strike Force Doreen in 2005 to investigate five sexual assault cases which occurred in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in 2000.

The investigation expanded to include 31 attempted or actual assaults after referrals from the Cold Case Justice Review Project — the first of which took place in Clovelly in 1985, the last in Waverly cemetery in 2001.

At the time, these attacks were believed to have been committed by either the Bondi Beast, the Centennial Park rapist, the Tracksuit rapist or the Bondi rapist. It wasn’t believed they were all the same person.

In 2005 — 20 years after the first attack — police found a DNA link between five assaults that occured around 2000. This number then grew to 12, but it wasn’t until 11 years later in 2016 that a random search of the police’s DNA database found a familial match.

bondi beast artist impression NSW Police
An artist’s impression of a rape suspect, based on a description given by a victim in 1994. Source: NSW Police

It wasn’t until new technology in 2019 was made available that police were then able to build a paternal family tree of DNA featuring 324 people. Cops worked through the suspects by a “process of elimination” and focused on age and location of relevant family members until they narrowed their search down to just one person: Keith Simms, a grandfather from La Perouse.

“We were given a link to a broad number of people who were possible contributors,” Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty told The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes.

“And then through the dedicated hard work over the last six years of the sex crimes squad we were able to then bring that link down to a single person and identify the contributor of that DNA. No two people share the same DNA, and that’s why we’ve been able to come back to this one person.”

Detective Sergeant Dan Walker from the police DNA management unit said there is no doubt the DNA linked to 12 sexual assaults belongs to Simms.

“Our science services tested that and that profile from that sample matched the crime scenes,” Walker said.

“It’s a statistical ratio of one in 100 billion. So, it only belongs to him.”

Interestingly, police would not disclose how they actually obtained a DNA sample from Simms. Which is strange for a few reasons, the most important being that he died seven months ago.

It’s also worth noting that since Simms is no longer alive, police do not have to worry about defaming him or following any due process regarding a criminal trial and proving guilt.

This doesn’t mean there is doubt around Simm’s DNA match — it’s just something to be aware of given the information they’ve withheld and the timing of their breakthrough.

Police said they have since spoken to Simm’s family, who were shocked to learn he could have led a double life.

“His family had no idea and really were beyond shocked when we had to tell them,” Detective Acting Inspector Shelley Johns from Strike Force Doreen said, per SMH.

“There are so many questions that are unanswered. And a lot of them have come from the victims themselves.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.