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Pitchfork, screwdriver used in sex assault

AAP logoAAP 13/12/2016 Melissa Meehan

One of two women sexually assaulted after being threatened with a screwdriver and a pitchfork in Melbourne in the 1980s went to her grave not knowing who her attacker was.

But that's not stopping cold case detectives from trying to identify the man linked to her assault and one on another woman a year earlier.

The woman who has died was just 18 when she was dragged into a car by a man armed with a pitchfork while she walking from a milk bar in Mulgrave in May 1983.

He took her to an unknown location where he sexually assaulted her.

In April 1982, a 21-year-old woman had been attacked in a similar manner, the only difference being that the man threatened her with a screwdriver.

Acting Senior Sergeant Nigel Freebairn says the impact on both women had been "immense".

"The first woman, to this day, has not confided in family or friends to let them know what happened to her," Act Sen Sgt Freebairn told reporters on Wednesday.

"And the second woman, unfortunately, passed away in 2014 from an illness and went to her grave never knowing her attacker."

Police believe the attacks are linked to one man who was driving a distinctive white van with red and yellow stripes, spoke slowly with an Australian accent and had rough hands.

The van and weapons used in both assaults may have been tools of the man's trade with Act Sen Sgt Freebairn saying those things along with his rough hands could mean he was a labourer.

Cold case sexual crime squad detectives on Wednesday released an image of a man and the van he was driving in the hope someone recognises him.

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