A BRITISH family has been tracked down decades after they witnessed what became Australia’s oldest cold case.
The international hunt began last week when New South Wales detectives investigating the Cheryl Grimmer homicide announced they were looking for a family who spoke to police at the time of the abduction in 1970.
The couple and their two children left Australia late in 1970 and eventually returned to Britain — but they have been located almost 50 years after making their original statements.
Three-year-old Cheryl was kidnapped and murdered during a family outing at Fairy Meadow Beach at Wollongong. She vanished from a shower block while her brother waited for her outside and her mother was a short distance away on the beach.
Late last month, Strike Force Wessel — comprising detectives from Wollongong Local Area Command and the State Crime Command’s Unsolved Homicide Team — travelled to Melbourne and charged a 63-year-old man with her abduction and murder.
Police said today inquiries through Interpol and media outlets had led investigators to the family in Nottinghamshire, England.
Mavis Goodyear spoke to police along with her husband and daughters all those years ago. She told the Daily Mail she would help any way she could.
“I thought it was all behind us, well in the past. I didn’t think it would be brought back up again but you know what they say, your past will always come back to bite you.”
At the time Peter Goodyear told police he saw a man running away from the shower changing rooms with a limp, blond girl in his arms.
Mrs Goodyear was shocked to see her family were on the TV news in relation to the case, which was one of Australia’s most enduring mysteries.
“It’s not nice to come in from the garden and see yourself on the telly, not nice at all,” she told the Mai l.
One of her daughters lives close to her, while another lives in Inverness.
After the breakthrough last month, Detective Inspector Brad Ainsworth said the circumstances of the case were horrific.
He said it’s believed Cheryl was taken from the front of the surf club, not the back as originally thought, and that her death occurred within an hour or so after that.
As a teenager he was interviewed by police after Cheryl’s disappearance but charges were not laid.
The man, who cannot be named, will next appear in court on May 24.
Online Source: The News