Hush money claim in Vic gang rape case

Karen Sweeney
·3-min read

A woman who was allegedly gang raped by a group of men in Melbourne in the 1980s believed she was being paid "hush money" so police could focus on the Russell Street bombing investigation.

A court has heard original investigators believed the bombers were suspects in the rape of two women, aged 18 and 19, in November 1985 and March 1986.

Craig Minogue, who was convicted over the bombing, is facing 38 charges including abduction by force and aggravated rape over alleged attacks on teenage girls in November 1985 and March 1986.

Peter Michael Kokmiazyk is facing the same charges over alleged attacks on the women, aged 18 and 19.

He was acquitted over the bombing that killed 21-year-old Constable Angela Taylor but later jailed for the attempted murder of two police shot at during raids connected to the bombing.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

One victim, who has since died, told a friend she believed police didn't want the rape case to distract from their investigation into the 1986 bombing police headquarters bombing that killed Const Taylor, and that a compensation payment was "hush money" to stay quiet.

Detective Senior Constable Caitlin Cooper told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday that when she began working on the cold case in 2017 there only "very basic" investigation notes.

It was only after meeting with one of the original investigators that she learned they had suspected the Russell Street bombers of the rapes after "putting the dots together".

"The location, the vehicle, the amount of offenders and being close to the time the bombing occurred," she said.

One of the women told investigators she heard the name "Stan" used, and understood from conversations that two of her attackers might have been brothers.

Det Sen Const Cooper said officers believed Stan might have been a reference to Stan Taylor - who is named alongside Komiazyk and Minogue in court documents as an attacker but died in 2016.

The brothers may have been Craig Minogue and his brother Rodney, who was acquitted alongside Komiazyk.

A woman who was friends with one of the victims - who died in 2008 - gave evidence on Wednesday that she had spoken often with the woman about the 1985 attack.

The woman said though her friend received compensation as a victim of crime she felt the investigation was being "washed under the carpet" and she was being given "hush money" to go away quietly.

"She felt very strongly the compensation she was going to be given was so they could proceed with the (bombing) trial without the other distracting from it," the woman said.

"I remember that word. Distract."

The court heard there was no record of original investigators having used photo boards to identify either Minogue or Komiazyk.

Court documents show DNA matches to both men and Stan Taylor to the victim in the 1986 case.

While testing using older methods drew no matches, re-testing with modern technology found samples were 22 million to 120 million times more likely to come from Minogue than another person, and 100 billion times more likely to match Komiazyk than another.

Another sample was 7.6 billion times more likely to have come from Stan Taylor than another person.