A Melbourne woman has described in graphic detail the terrifying moment she believed a key suspect in the Maria James cold case murder tried to rape her.
It was August 1970 and the woman wanted to sell her car.
She met Peter Keogh - one of six main suspects in the brutal stabbing murder of Ms James a decade later - at a Thornbury pub and told him to discuss the sale at her Coburg home.
Keogh turned up within 48 hours, kicked her door open and beat her "black and blue".
"He seemed so vicious - I was terrified," the woman told an inquest into Ms James' unsolved murder on Tuesday.
"He assaulted me in the kitchen and I pretended to faint in the hope he would stop. Then he threw me onto the bed and I believed he was intending to rape me."
She said that - through squinted eyes - she saw Keogh pull out something that "glittered" or "glinted" from his pants.
"Once he started pulling things out of his pocket, I just thought - 'I've got to get out of here'," she said.
"It's a long time ago, but I've never forgotten."
She later went to the police and identified her assailant as Peter Keogh.
"The police officer said I was very lucky because he stabbed his last victim and I've never, ever forgotten his name," she said.
Keogh in 1987 stabbed his former partner Vicki Cleary to death outside the kindergarten she worked at.
He is also suspected of killing Ms James, whose body was found around midday at her Thornbury home in June 1980.
The five other men suspected of killing the 38-year-old Melbourne mother include Father Anthony Bongiorno.
Father Bongiorno, now deceased, was a local Catholic priest and has been accused of abusing one of Ms James' sons.
Allan Hircoe, an electrician, earlier told the Victorian Coroners Court he saw Father Bongiorno with his hands covered in fresh blood at St Mary's presbytery in Thornbury, near Ms James' home, on the day she was murdered.
But Father Gerald Medici, who joined St Mary's in January 1981, on Tuesday said another priest told him that he and Father Bongiorno had lunch together at Coburg on the day Ms James was killed.
"When they came back to Thornbury - the shop where Maria James had been was cordoned off," Father Medici recalls being told.
"Father Bongiorno asked what was going on and an officer told him someone had been murdered."
The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Caitlin English continues.