Businessman investigated over 1970 Lake Macquarie murders once acquitted of rape
A Gold Coast businessman who recently became a person of interest in the suspected murders of two Hunter teenagers in 1970, once stood trial for allegedly trying to rape a hitchhiker.
The 58-year-old man was charged with the attempted sexual assault of a woman in the Lake Macquarie region in 1980, just one year after dental nurse Robyn Hickie and schoolgirl Amanda Robinson vanished from the same area.
He was a local labourer when he stood trial in Newcastle but was acquitted by a jury in 1981.
Today 9News approached the man in Surfers Paradise but he declined to be drawn on whether he had ever seen the two teenagers or whether he thought he had been wrongly targeted by police.
"I have no comment, thank you," he said.
The man cannot be identified for legal reasons as he was recently charged with sexual offences relating to women he had met online in Queensland.
He is facing four charges, including one of rape.
This week detectives re-investigating the cold cases released an image of an emerald Holden Torana, a car police say they believe he may have driven or owned at the time.
Robyn Hickie, 18, vanished from the Pacific Highway at Belmont on April 7 in 1979. She was supposed to meet friends at a local pub but never turned up.
Two weeks later Amanda Robinson, 14, was abducted in the neighbouring suburb of Swansea, also close to the Pacific Highway.
Amanda's mum, Anne Robinson, is still hoping to bury her daughter before she dies.
"She was the most gorgeous little girl, everyone loved her," she told 9News in a recent interview.
Robyn's Dad, Jim Hickie, is not confident police will arrest anyone for his daughter's death but is still hopeful.
"In our situation you always hope but experience teaches you after time... you're bound to be disappointed again," Mr Hickie said.
Police are appealing for anyone who remembers seeing the distinctive green car in 1979 around the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.