Moment when police arrest the 51-year-old man after detectives used advanced pedigree genetics to identify their suspect for a string of alleged sexual assaults stretching back nearly 30 years
A 51-year-old man has been charged with a series of sexual assaults in Perth in the 1990s after police used genetic genealogy to identify him.
Michael Anthony Woodhall appeared before Perth Magistrates Court on Friday on charges of 34 crimes, including sexually assaulting four women.
Western Australian Police used DNA samples in conjunction with the genealogical technique to identify more than 3,500 people.
Genealogical research genealogy uses publicly accessible genealogy databases to link genetic data to ancestors.
‘We had confidence in that  … was our perpetrator,” Detective Acting Superintendent Darryl Cox told reporters.
Detectives worked for two years to narrow down the number of genetic matches to one suspect.
“This has been a painstaking investigation,” said Det Supt Cox. “Special crime squad used advanced forensic techniques.”
A 51-year-old man has gone to court over a series of sexual assaults in Perth in the 1990s after police used genetic genealogy to identify him
Police claimed the first incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. on March 19, 1995, when Woodhall allegedly approached a 49-year-old woman walking in a park.
He was 23 years old at the time and is accused of threatening her with a knife before dragging her into the bushland and sexually assaulting her.
The second alleged attack occurred around 3 a.m. a year later, on March 19, 1996, when Woodhall was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in her home.
He allegedly woke the woman up before threatening her with a knife and sexually assaulting her.
The third incident occurred on February 4, 1998 at around 2am in a student house near the University of Western Australia.
Woodhall is accused of threatening an 18-year-old woman with a knife before sexually assaulting her.
Michael Anthony Woodhall appeared before Perth Magistrates Court on Friday charged with 34 offenses including sexually assaulting four women
A fourth woman was attacked at about 2:30 am on 14 June 1998 at a house in east Perth, when Woodhall allegedly sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman.
He has been charged with 14 counts of aggravated non-consensual sexual penetration, five counts of indecent assault, deprivation of liberty, burglary and a host of other crimes.
He was denied bail and is expected to reappear on July 21.