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Rape Shocks Family In Horrible Twist Of Fate

TWENTY-SIX years ago when Lidcombe man, John, was 13, he was sexually assaulted many times by his next door neighbour, Raymond Peter Sneddon, an unemployed man, then in his mid-twenties.
On May 15 this year, a jury found Sneddon guilty of eight charges of sexually assaulting John, and "numerous" other similar incidents, and he's to be sentenced on June 27 at Sydney District Court.
"It's 9,135 days since I saw Sneddon originally arrested, handcuffed and taken off by Lidcombe police. The Vietnam war lasted 10,000 days. I've had to wait nearly as long as that to get justice," John told the Torch last week.
Sneddon still lives next door to John's mother in Strathfield. John says that does make things a little awkward, but notes that Sneddon hasn't been seen around there much lately.
John is not his real name. He wouldn't mind his own name being used, if it wasn't for another shocking thing that has happened to his family lately. On May 3, just a few weeks ago, his youngest daughter, barely 13-years-old, was abducted by two men in a car, driven to Henley Park, Enfield, and raped.
Police issued computer images of the rapists and they were published by the Torch on its front page on May 14, the day after her father's rapist was found guilty.
John is determined that his daughter won't have to wait 26 years for justice.
John is a social worker employed by the Department of Corrective Services. In 1997 he was working at a prison in Tamworth when he decided to do something about Sneddon's assaults all those years ago. It seemed the police had lost all interest. He asked his mother. She cried and said that back in 1977-78 when the assaults took place and Sneddon was arrested people believed the police would do the right thing, but it seemed they did nothing. The case against Sneddon had been shelved.
"It was either corruption, incompetence or the whole case and all its documents and statements had been misplaced," John said. "I knew deep down that nothing had happened."
"So, in 1997 I pressed the police where I was working in Tamworth to reinvestigate the matter. They brought 15 charges against Sneddon, and these were whittled down to eight. He was found guilty of these and 'numerous' other assaults.
"It was a great result. I was very happy. Then on May 3 Burwood police rang. My youngest daughter, aged 13, had been abducted and sexually assaulted at Henley Park, Enfield." A police hunt is on for two men of Mediterranean/Middle Eastern appearance and a woman who may have seen the men in the street where the abduction took place.
Meanwhile John and his family are on the move. Police have advised them to relocate as his daughter's rapists may be gang-related and pose a threat to the whole family. "No one can guarantee our safety so we're leaving Lidcombe for a new place and our daughter will attend a new school," John said.
"The Government is getting tough on crime but victims of crime stay victims. God knows what I did in a past life to deserve all this. I must have ridden with Genghis Khan or something. "I'm going to pursue the police who shelved my case for all those years. There is no way they should be allowed to get away with that. The police in Tamworth who did pursue the case were outstanding. I hope their efforts are acknowledged.
"I'm confident that the police hunting my daughter's rapists will get them.
Her case won't be forgotten like mine was."

http://www.torchpublishing.com.au (20-6-2003)
David Harbour

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