Arrests in 1995 gang rape case despite police allegedly destroying evidence

| 18.06,19. 06:42 PM |

Arrests in 1995 gang rape case despite police allegedly destroying evidence

Photo: 'Eve' on the night of her 21st birthday in 1995, hours before she was allegedly gang raped by four men in Brisbane. (Supplied)

Queensland police have made a breakthrough in a controversial historical gang rape case, arresting three men — including two who will be extradited from interstate to face court.

The accused trio are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

A 47-year-old Brisbane man, a 53-year-old Adelaide man and a 43-year-old Sydney man will face sexual assault charges, a police spokesman said.

The arrests come 24 years after 'Eve', who cannot be identified for legal reasons, reported to police she was raped by at least four men on her 21st birthday.

The investigation stalled but in recent years Eve had pressed for police to review the case.

In April, the ABC revealed two detectives had privately told Eve that potential DNA evidence, including her dress, underwear and rape kit samples, had been destroyed along with evidence in other cases.

It prompted a rare intervention by State Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, who co-signed a letter with Eve calling on the Crime and Corruption Commission to launch an independent investigation.

Eve told ABC she had mixed feelings at news of the arrests.

"I'm so glad they have made progress in the case, but also angry that it's taken this long … a quarter of a century," she said.

"I'm angry that I had to fight and keep pushing the police for them to just look at the case, for them to finally arrest somebody.

"For 20-some years, they did not even want to investigate the case."

The police spokesman said the arrests were "as a result of a protracted investigation conducted by the sexual crime unit, state crime command into a 1995 cold case sexual assault complaint".

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Eve said she now faced the added stress of testifying in a "she said, they said" scenario without the strength of certain forensic evidence.

"I still want the police to be held to account, with all the time gone by and all the evidence that's been destroyed," she said.

"I did not get to get on with my life for that quarter of a century whereas they did — the police, the alleged offenders.

"I'm still trying to put my life together, I'm still in counselling and I'm still trying to recover from it all."

There is an ongoing internal police investigation into the handling of the case.

The Queensland Police Service has denied there was a decision to destroy physical evidence but admitted to difficulties in locating items.

Under Queensland law, the accused cannot be identified.


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