A 73-year-old man has been charged over the alleged 1984 Melbourne Cup Day abduction and murder of six-year-old Kylie Maybury in Preston.Gregory Keith Davies was charged with one count of rape, one count of murder and one count of false imprisonment.
He was remanded in custody to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Homicide squad detective sergeant Paul Rowe alleged the then-42-year-old Mr Davies abducted and raped Kylie on the night of November 6 and murdered her on November 7.
Her body was discovered at 12.45am on November 7.
The out-of- sessions hearing on Thursday evening lasted less than two minutes.
Mr Davies, wearing black trackpants and a cream jacket, sat quietly during the hearing, only saying “yes sir” when addressed by bail justice Grant Coultman-Smith.
Detective Sergeant Rowe told the hearing Mr Davies was arrested at his Waterford Park home near Kilmore at 9am on Thursday The accused was taken to the Spencer Street police complex in the CBD, where he was interviewed by detectives.
Homicide squad Detective Inspector Mick Hughes said earlier on Thursday that it was not believed the arrested man knew Kylie.
He would not comment on whether the man’s DNA had been taken, or whether police still had a DNA sample taken from Kylie’s body that was believed to belong to the offender.
“The homicide cold case team have been doing this for a while. They received some contemporary information very recently,” Detective Inspector Hughes said.
Police are now asking three people with potentially crucial information to come forward, a step Detective Inspector Hughes acknowledged was unusual, given the man had already been arrested.
A $1 million reward for information is on offer.
Kylie was with her mother, Julie, visiting a neighbour in Gregory Grove, Preston, when she was sent to a nearby shop to buy sugar at 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 6, 1984.
She was walking home south along Plenty Road when she was kidnapped.
At 12.45am the next day, her body was found in a gutter in Donald Street, Preston.
She had been raped and possibly strangled. The words “I love you” were reportedly found written on her arm.
“A child should be able to go down the street, buy a packet of sugar and get home safely,” Detective Inspector Hughes said.
“This little girl didn’t.”
Julie Maybury had been with detectives on Thursday, and while Detective Inspector Hughes had not been able to speak with them to learn how she had taken the news, he expected she would be “overawed”.
He said she had been a pillar of strength since the murder.
The dozens of police who had investigated the case would be ecstatic if the arrest led to a successful prosecution, he said. Some of those detectives who had investigated the murder had since died, he said.
A potentially crucial witness approached Kylie’s neighbour, Lorna Simpson, while she was searching for the girl on the corner of Gregory Grove and Plenty Road at the time she was taken.
The witness, a young Italian girl, told Ms Simpson she saw a child fitting Kylie’s description in a white station wagon.
A man was driving the car, which turned left onto Murray Road.
The girl then crossed Plenty Road and walked towards a pizza shop.
Detectives have never been able to locate that girl, whom Ms Simpson described as slim and “very attractive”.
On Thursday, they asked the girl, who would be a woman aged in her late 40s or early 50s now, to contact them.
“She’s probably a mum now herself,” Detective Inspector Hughes said.
Police have released an image of Lorna Simpson in the hope the woman may recognise her and recall speaking to her on that day.
Detective Inspector Hughes said it was believed Ms Simpson may have died, and he appealed to her family to come forward.
Two anonymous callers who contacted police in 1984 and 1997 have also been asked to come forward.
The first witness called police on November 21, 1984, and told investigators a Holden Kingswood station wagon was involved.
The second caller phoned Crime Stoppers in May 1997 and gave the name of a potential suspect.
Detective Inspector Hughes would not say whether the suspect who was named was the same man who was arrested.
He also would not confirm if the arrested man had links to Preston, or had owned a Kingswood.
Investigators have also released an image of a similar vehicle described by witnesses.
Last week, police revealed they were searching for a similar Kingswood in relation to the disappearance of Boronia schoolgirl Siriyakorn “Bung” Siriboon, but Detective Inspector Hughes said there was no link between the two cases.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.