‘They didn’t give up’: Rapist jailed after cold case investigation

WARNING: Distressing content

A rapist who avoided prison for three decades has been jailed for 12 years for a crime a judge labelled “every woman’s worst nightmare”.

Just over 30 years ago, Brett Braddock,now 57, lived next door to a widow in a regional Victorian town.

He didn’t know the victim but could see from his house into the home where she lived with her young daughters.

On July 22, 1990, the woman went to bed just after midnight. A few hours later, Braddock and another man entered her house wearing masks and went into her bedroom.

She woke and asked the men who they were.

“I’m a secret admirer,” the other man, who still remains unidentified, said to her.

The men then held her down. The other man told her to lie still. He told her not to tell anybody what was happening or he'd kill her children and mentioned that he knew she had a teenage daughter.

The two men then took turns holding her down and raping her.

On Wednesday Braddock was sentenced by County Court judge Patricia Riddle to 12 years and two months in prison.

“No matter how long ago, it is offending that horrifies and shocks the community,” Judge Riddle said of his crime.

“This is, as the prosecutor stated, every woman’s worst nightmare.”

Immediately after the attack, the woman told her eldest daughter that she had been assaulted, but that she didn’t want to tell the police, fearing her attackers would carry out their threats.

“That was an act of maternal self-sacrifice,” Judge Riddle said, “so grave were her fears that you and your co-offender would carry out your threats against her children.”

The woman's daughter told a neighbour, who reported the attack to police. After an investigation at the time, police still couldn't identify the perpetrators.

Braddock pleaded guilty in June to two charges of aggravated rape and one of burglary, but Judge Riddell said he had not appear to have shown any remorse, because of his claims that he did not remember the attack.

It wasn’t until 2018 that the sexual crime squad cold case unit identified Braddock as a suspect and DNA samples were compared with samples taken at the time by a meticulous detective.

Judge Riddell made special mention of the investigators' work in finally bringing Braddock to justice.

“They did not rest or abandon this case because of its age,” Judge Riddell said, “they did not give up.”

Judge Riddell pointed out that the rape stood in “stark contrast” to the rest of Braddock’s life, with his family and friends describing him as a loving man.

Braddock was convicted and sentenced to six years for the burglary, eight years and 10 months for his role in restraining the woman, and 10 years for the rape he committed.

He will serve some of the sentences concurrently, resulting in a total effective sentence of 12 years and two months and will be eligible for parole in nine years.

He has already served 76 days in pre-sentence detention and will undergo sex offender treatment in custody.

If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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