In a shocking new development ahead of Seven News Investigates - The Beaumont Children: What Really Happened premiere tonight, a woman has come forward to identify Harry Phipps - the man Seven News has named as the chief suspect in the Beaumont disappearance - as her childhood sex attacker.
The woman, who is remaining anonymous, came forward during the course of Seven News Investigates year-long investigation into the notorious 52-year cold case.
Harry Phipps, the man suspected of having kidnapped and murdered the three children - Jane, 9, Arnna, 7 and Grant, 4 - owned a large factory in Adelaide's Plympton, not far from Glenelg Beach. A small, remote site on that property is now the focus of South Australian police's investigation, with an excavation expected to occur in the coming weeks.
The woman lived near Phipps' factory. Thirteen years after the disappearance of the Beaumont children, in 1979, this woman was 14-years-old.
She tells Seven News' Michael Usher that she had gone to a friend's place after school, dressed in her school uniform.
On her way home she encountered a well-dressed man she'd seen before, outside Phipps' former factory. According to her retelling, the factory was closed and the streets deserted. The man said hello.
She tells Seven News, 'He just walked me across the road and was just saying that, you know, you’re a really pretty girl, I’ve seen you around and I just went with him.'
'He wasn’t horrible, he wasn’t nasty,' she continued.
The man, whom she claims was Harry Phipps, guided her across to an empty block, which she claims was being used as a BMX bike track and says that the moment they reached that block, his attitude changed.
'He…it was really terrible. He sorta started getting really slimy, really dirty talk and things like that.'
The woman then recounts the man's brutal assault of her. She recalls, 'I couldn't tell anyone because I was too scared of them telling my father.
'I didn't realise he was going to do what he did...but then again, I'm better off than what the kids were. I'm still here.'
Linda's full story airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 7.
The Beaumont case remains to this day the most infamous cold case in Australian history.
On Australia Day 1966, nine-year-old Jane Beaumont, her sister Arnna, seven, and brother Grant, four, left their home in Adelaide’s Somerton Park for the short bus ride to Glenelg beach. It was an incredibly warm day and it was a trip the three children had made before. The children were due back home in the early afternoon, but they never returned.
Despite a massive search and investigation, not one shred of evidence was found to tell of their fate.
Over the last 52 years, there have been countless theories, suspects and speculation on what happened that day, ranging from the credible to the intriguing and bizarre.
Now, in what criminal experts and former police who worked on the case are describing as the most significant evidence to ever emerge in five decades, the Seven News Investigates team has uncovered a potential gravesite.
The result of a year-long investigation, the possible burial site at a factory in Plympton, near Glenelg, was scanned using state-of-the-art geophysical technology. Results showed a significant anomaly – an area of disturbed earth measuring about a metre wide, two metres long and two metres deep. The size of a grave and now officially a crime scene after Seven News shared findings with police investigators. South Australian police have confirmed they will excavate the site in coming weeks.
Following a comprehensive and painstaking re-investigation led by award-winning journalist Michael Usher and featuring expert analysis from the country’s leading criminologists, new and compelling evidence will name affluent businessman Harry Phipps – the former owner of the Plympton factory – as the Beaumont children’s suspected killer.
Is Australia's most compelling mystery about to be solved?