Lower Plenty Attack

At about 4am, Saturday 22 August, 1987, a family of four were fast asleep in their Lower Plenty home when an unknown man broke in through a lounge room window at the front of the premises by quietly breaking the glass.

The offender was wearing an open-faced navy blue balaclava, yellow surgical or dishwashing gloves and a blue waterproof zip-up jacket beneath a second brown tweed jacket. His close-fitting blue jeans and blue runners were in good condition, but dandruffy greyish brown hair protruded from beneath his balaclava and his oval face was unshaven. Some kind of material was covering his eyes and greyish bushy eyebrows. According to different sources, he was around 178cm to 183cm tall and slim to medium build.

Police sketch of the attacker in the Lower Plenty Attack

The man was well prepared, with a small black handgun, a 20 cm long kitchen knife with a black handle, at least four sets of handcuffs, red and white nylon cord, a small grey material bag similar to a child’s library bag, three rolls of red, green and blue adhesive electrical tape and a roll of Elastoplast surgical tape.

Diamond Valley News, Tuesday September 1 1987

He went straight to the parents’ bedroom, forced them onto their stomachs and handcuffed their hands and ankles to immobilise them. “Be quiet and don’t move or I’ll hurt someone,” he said.

Mr Cruel then roused the frightened 7-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter from their bedrooms and herded them into their parents’ bedroom. He replaced the parents’ handcuffs with nylon cord, tied the son to the bed and tied up the daughter’s hands. He gagged all the victims with electrical tape and blindfolded the children with the surgical tape.

With his victims under his control, he told them he was going to rob them, demanding cash, a first aid kit, clothes, a shower, food and a shave. “All I want is money, food and clothes. How much money is in the house?” The man asked the father’s clothes size, saying he was about the same size. His voice was gruff, deepish, nervous. He sounded uneducated.

“Get into the wardrobe and sit down. Get into the closet and kneel down.” Mr Cruel forced both parents inside the cupboard and covered them with a blanket. He then seemed to use the bedroom phone to make a call to someone he called ‘bozo’, threatening their children. However, it is unclear whether the call connected.

After shutting and securing the wardrobe with a shoe rack, he went to fetch a radio and turned it loudly to 3KZ. He then led the 11-year-old girl to another room where he sexually assaulted her. “What’s your name? How old are you?” She told him, but he mistakenly called her ‘Kate’.

After making her clean her teeth and bathe, the offender led his victim into the kitchen and ate some cold lamb, biscuits, milk and orange juice. He then took the girl to the lounge room where he assaulted her again, before dumping her in a lounge chair. His breath smelt musty and his hands felt soft.

The offender left the child there while he checked on her parents and brother in the master bedroom. When he returned, he led the girl to another room where he tied her ankles together with nylon cord and made her sit in a seat. “I’m going out now so count to 100 slowly then you can free your parents.” Before he left he picked up the broken glass from the lounge room floor and ripped the telephone from the wall.

When she heard the front door close the victim freed herself and her family. It was about 6am, so the offender had been in the house for two full hours.

He had stolen:

  • a men’s red, black and yellow tartan shirt,
  • a pair of Roger David trousers with a 82-85cm waist,
  • a navy blue Ecuadorian Shirt Company parka with fake black fur collar which may have been the only one of its kind in Australia, $250 cash,
  • an 18 carat gold engagement ring with a white diamond mounted in between four gold claws and the number 4132 stamped inside,
  • a Gillette safety razor,
  • a dark brown vinyl bag,
  • a rare box set of classic music records by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, branded ‘Classic Gold’.

‘Victoria Police and FBI dossier on shocking Mr Cruel child attacks’ Herald Sun Keith Moor, April 8, 2016
‘Task force to hunt rapist’ Diamond Valley News, Sept 1 1987
‘Police seek a new Mr Stinky rapist’ The Age, May 12, 1988

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