Man charged after DNA match leads to ‘inner west rapist’ breakthrough

Police have charged a man,dubbed the “inner west rapist”,over a series of sexual assaults in Sydney more than 15 years ago after a family member’s DNA match broke open the cold case.

Between August 2003 and November 2004,there were separate assaults on women across the Sydney metropolitan area,many of which occurred in their homes.

Darren Kennedy,51,was arrested in Panania on Monday morning and has been charged over four separate sexual assaults.

A man has been arrested after a breakthrough in the investigation into a series of sexual assaults 15 years ago.

A man has been arrested after a breakthrough in the investigation into a series of sexual assaults 15 years ago.NSW Police

Police said the assaults were linked by location and modus operandi,while four were linked by a common DNA profile located at the crime scenes.

Despite exhaustive investigations at the time,including assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States and the exploration of more than 3000 persons of interest,no one was charged.

“As leads went cold and no particular POI[person of interest] came forward,the investigation dwindled away,” Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty said.

A man has been arrested after a breakthrough in the investigation into a series of sexual assaults 15 years ago.

A man has been arrested after a breakthrough in the investigation into a series of sexual assaults 15 years ago.NSW Police

In February 2020,detectives from the child abuse and sex crimes squad commenced a reinvestigation.

Earlier this year,forensics experts from NSW Health pathology’s forensic and analytical science service established a familial DNA link in the case.

While the accused man was not directly identified on the DNA database,police said a close relative was,which provided a new lead.

Police said further inquiries were conducted which identified a DNA match.

Police have laid 15 charges against Mr Kennedy including six counts of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts each of indecent assault and taking or detaining a person with intent to obtain advantage.

He made no application for bail when his case came before Bankstown Local Court on Monday,and it was formally refused.

The matter was adjourned for eight weeks,to January 25,when Mr Kennedy is expected to appear via video link in Sydney’s Central Local Court.

“Any offence that takes a woman in their own home is horrendous,” Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

“This person was dubbed the inner west rapist and there were women throughout the inner west in Sydney that were terrified in their own homes.

“It’s one of those offences that lives in the mind of the people that lived in the area at the time.”

Police Minister David Elliott said the arrest showed NSW Police do not give up on victims of crime.

“If you are an offender,no matter how long ago your offence occurred,technology and science means it is highly likely you will still be brought to justice,” he said.

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Daniella White is a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Sarah McPhee is a breaking news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

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