Beast of Bondi serial rapist Keith Simms was remembered as loving husband and father at his funeral

Sinister truth behind ‘Pop’s’ smile: How granddad was fondly remembered as a loving husband, granddad and Rabbitohs fan… when in actual fact, he was Australia’s worst ever rapist – the ‘Beast of Bondi’

  • DNA technology linked Sydney serial rapist to dozen confirmed sexual assaults 
  • Keith Simms is also a person of interest in at least 19 more sexual assault cases 
  • Grandfather Simms died in February aged 66 before he could ever be charged
  • His funeral at Malabar was held without anyone knowing of his past as a rapist 
  • Mourners described Simms, known as ‘Magoo’ as a loving husband and father

Mourners at Keith Simms’s funeral remembered a loving husband, father and grandfather whose other great passions were country music and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

They had no idea the man they knew as Magoo was a suburban monster who sexually assaulted perhaps dozens of women and months later would be exposed as the ‘Beast of Bondi’.

Simms was recently identified by DNA technology as responsible for a dozen sex attacks committed across Sydney’s east between 1987 and 2000. He was also linked to at least 19 others.

Armed with a knife and disguised in a balaclava, Simms attacked vulnerable girls as young as 13 and women as old as 55.

A 16-year-old he raped at Bondi in 1986 fell pregnant and had an abortion.  

Mourners at Keith Simms's funeral remembered a loving husband, father and grandfather. Simms was recently identified through DNA as responsible for a dozen sex attacks Sydney's east and linked to at least 19 more

Mourners at Keith Simms’s funeral remembered a loving husband, father and grandfather. Simms was recently identified through DNA as responsible for a dozen sex attacks Sydney’s east and linked to at least 19 more

For decades police worked to identify the search for the predator also known as the 'Centennial Park Rapist' and the 'Tracksuit Rapist' but Simms's name never came up during the investigation

For decades police worked to identify the search for the predator also known as the ‘Centennial Park Rapist’ and the ‘Tracksuit Rapist’ but Simms’s name never came up during the investigation

Simms ambushed some of his victims in their homes in the middle of the night or early in the morning. 

He put his hand across their mouths, made threats to kill and sexually assaulted them. At other times he would target women in isolated areas walking alone.

For decades police worked to uncover who was behind this reign of terror but in the search for the predator also known as the the ‘Centennial Park Rapist’ and the ‘Tracksuit Rapist’, Simms was never investigated.

A breakthrough finally came in 2016 when DNA samples taken from crime scenes were matched to one of his male relatives but narrowing that down to Simms happened too late to bring him to justice. 

The father-of-three and grandfather of five died of kidney failure aged 66 in February. 

When detectives informed Simms’s wife she had been married to a serial rapist for almost 44 years she could not believe what she was being told about her soulmate. 

Armed with a knife and disguised in a balaclava, Simms attacked vulnerable girls as young as 13 and women as old as 55. Some of his victims Simms ambushed in their homes in the middle of the night or early morning

Armed with a knife and disguised in a balaclava, Simms attacked vulnerable girls as young as 13 and women as old as 55. Some of his victims Simms ambushed in their homes in the middle of the night or early morning

For decades police worked to identify the predator also known as the 'The Centennial Park Rapist' and 'The Tracksuit Rapist'. Pictured are two artists' impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified

For decades police worked to identify the predator also known as the ‘The Centennial Park Rapist’ and ‘The Tracksuit Rapist’. Pictured are two artists’ impressions used by police before Simms was finally identified

Commander of the sex crime squad, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said Simms had never been in trouble with the law for any serious offences and did not suffer from mental illness, drug or alcohol problems. 

‘As far as we know, through all the investigations, he was never on the radar and so he didn’t have all those normal triggers, so by not having those, probably helped stay so anonymous,’ she told the Daily Telegraph.

The scores of family and friends who filed into St Andrews Catholic Church at Malabar in the city’s east on March 3 heard tales of a respected community member and hard worker.

When his coffin – draped in Rabbitohs colours – was carried back outside to the drone of a didgeridoo and the smell of burning eucalyptus leaves, no one was any the wiser.

Simms, a father-of-three and grandfather of five, died of kidney failure in February aged 66

Simms, a father-of-three and grandfather of five, died of kidney failure in February aged 66

One of Simms’s granddaughters fought back tears as she said her ‘Pop’ was like a father to her and her brother. 

‘Growing up with Pop meant so much to me,’ she said. ‘To have someone like him in my life was more than I could have ever asked for. 

‘My Pop was my favourite person in this whole world and I know that I was always his baby girl.’ 

Simms’s cousin described his wife as the ‘love of his life’.

‘They loved one another and would would do everything together,’ she said. ‘Their children and grandchildren never wanted anything. He was with them 100 per cent.’

The congregation heard Simms had been employed by Boral, MasterFoods, the University of New South Wales, Bonnie Doon Golf Club, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Botany Council. 

One of Simms's great loves was country music and he was a big fan of Charley Pride

One of Simms’s great loves was country music and he was a big fan of Charley Pride

Simms had grown up playing rugby league – he was a distant relative of the great Souths fullback Eric Simms (1965-1975) – at La Perouse and then Kensington.

As well as being sent off in a Rabbitohs coffin Simms was buried in a gold Bunnies polo shirt he had been given for Father’s Day by one of his granddaughters.

‘A few people have told me stories of Keith,’ his cousin said. ‘Some I can tell ya, some I can’t. 

‘Keith loved partying with his family and friends. He loved his country and western – especially Charley Pride.’ 

In his young days Simms could be found on Sunday nights at Kingsford’s rough-and-tumble Red Tomato Inn, now known as Churchills.

As well as being sent off in a Rabbitohs coffin Simms was buried in a gold Bunnies polo shirt he had been given for Father's Day by one of his granddaughters

As well as being sent off in a Rabbitohs coffin Simms was buried in a gold Bunnies polo shirt he had been given for Father’s Day by one of his granddaughters

He was part of the Sharpie youth subculture and got around town in tight jeans and white shoes. With his mates he would catch a bus into Darlinghurst and eat at the Colonial Diner, known as the ‘Chew ‘n’ Spew’ at Moore Park.

‘Keithy would get three of the local girls – I’m not naming names, they know who they are – up on tables to go-go dance,’ his cousin said. ‘And Keithy would act like their pimp and collect money off people watching them dance.’

Simms health began deteriorating about seven years ago when he learnt his kidneys were failing. He gave up work a year later so he could go on home dialysis as he awaited a transplant. 

‘One year ago today Keith and [his wife] received the phone call to state that kidneys had been found for Keith and to get to the hospital as soon as he could,’ Simms’s cousin said at his funeral.

Simms had grown up playing rugby league - he was a distant relative of the great Souths fullback Eric Simms (1965-1975) - at La Perouse and then Kensington

Simms had grown up playing rugby league – he was a distant relative of the great Souths fullback Eric Simms (1965-1975) – at La Perouse and then Kensington

Three weeks before his death Simms began having trouble eating, drinking and breathing. Diagnosed with pneumonia and told his new kidneys were failing, he was put in intensive care and sedated.

Simms died at 3.02pm on February 20 with his family by his side, still unaware he was one of Australia’s worst rapists.  

St Andrew’s parish priest Father John Knight knew even less about the real Simms than his loved ones.   

‘To you Keith we say thank you for your life of service, of love, of dedication, of that man who loved his family and cared for them so much,’ he said at Simms’s funeral.

‘All who are here today we come to honour you… and we pray that those trumpets of the angels would welcome you into that heavenly Redfern Oval.

‘To our God, thank you for giving Keith to us, a beautiful son of God who loved as you loved us. Take him home to his permanent home of peace, love and joy.’

When Keith Simm's coffin, in Rabbitohs colours, was carried out of St Andrew's Catholic Church at Malabar to the drone of a didgeridoo in March, mourners had no idea he was the 'Beast of Bondi'

When Keith Simm’s coffin, in Rabbitohs colours, was carried out of St Andrew’s Catholic Church at Malabar to the drone of a didgeridoo in March, mourners had no idea he was the ‘Beast of Bondi’

Last month 69-year-old Jennifer learnt the man who raped her in her Randwick unit in 1987 had finally been identified. 

‘I burst into tears,’ she told the Telegraph. ‘It was just so emotional. It’s not a case of forgive and forget. Because I’ll never forget.

‘And I’ll probably never forgive him for changing my life and everyone else’s. What gave him the right?’ 

To victim Jay, the 16-year-old Simms raped while she walked along Bondi Beach, his death could not come soon enough.

‘Good, he can’t hurt anyone else,’ she said of learning Simms had died. ‘I’m not normally a horrible person but I hope he suffered.’ 

For confidential information, counselling and support service contact: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Timeline of The Beast of Bondi’s sickening sex crimes

Using advanced DNA technology, Keith Simms has been linked to 12 sexual assaults between 1987 and 2000. 

He is suspected of being responsible for 19 more sexual assaults. 

Police believe there may be many more victims who did not come forward over the past 37 years or longer.

Almost all of the offences happened in Sydney’s east. 

Crimes linked to Simms by DNA:

1 – Randwick, September 27, 1987: Simms entered a unit where a 23-year-old woman was sleeping at around 5.05am. He put his hand over her mouth, threatened her with a knife and sexually assaulted her.

2 – Pagewood, April 10, 1989: Wearing a balaclava and armed with a knife, Simms entered a 14-year-old girl’s bedroom at about 4.04am. He put his hand over her mouth and sexually assaulted her.

3 – Coogee, April 24, 1989: Simms entered a unit where a 32-year-old woman was asleep. He put his hand over her mouth, threatened her with a knife and sexually assaulted her.

4 – Coogee, January 28, 1992: Simms broke into a unit where a 21-year-old woman was asleep at about 4.20am. He threatened her with a knife and sexually assaulted her.

5 – Centennial Park, December 12, 1993: Simms grabbed a 44-year-old woman who was running at about 8am. He threatened to kill her with a knife and sexually assaulted her.

6 – Coogee, April 9, 1994: At about 2.45am Simms threatened a 24-year-old woman who was sitting on the beach with a knife and then sexually assaulted her.

7 – MacKenzies Point, June 17, 1995: Simms grabbed a 38-year-old woman who was walking at about 5.35am, threatened her with a knife and sexually assaulted the her.

8 – Coogee, March 30, 1996: Simms broke into a unit where a 27-year-old woman was asleep at about 4.30am. He put his hand over her mouth, threatened to cut her throat and sexually assaulted her.

9 – Coogee, March 21, 1997: A 28-year-old woman was asleep on the beach about 5am and she woke to see Simms wearing a balaclava, armed with a knife and straddling her with his penis exposed. He held the knife to her throat and sexually assaulted her.

10 – Tamarama, October 11, 2000: A 55-year-old woman was asleep inside a friend’s unit when Simms broke in in the early hours of the morning. He put his hand over her mouth, threatened to stab her to death and sexually assaulted her.

11 – Coogee, October 21, 2000: Simms grabbed a 23-year-old woman at Dunningham Reserve at around 6.10am. Wearing a balaclava, he put his hand over her mouth and threatened to cut her throat. He tried to get her to perform oral sex but she would not do so. 

12 – Coogee, October 23, 2000: Simms grabbed a 17-year-old girl walking home through a cemetery at abound 3.30am. He put his hand across her mouth, threatened her and sexually assaulted her.

The New South Wales police (officers pictured in stock shot) never gave up on finding the Beast of Bondi

The New South Wales police (officers pictured in stock shot) never gave up on finding the Beast of Bondi

Crimes Simms is suspected of:

1 – Clovelly, March 2, 1985: Woman, 38, attacked at knife point while running at Thompsons Bay about 11am by a balaclava-wearing man who put his hand across her face and had a knife to her throat. 

2 – Bondi, November 1986: A girl, 16, was sexually assaulted at knife-point at a beach

3 – Pagewood, March 1, 1987: A girl, 13, in her bed was sexually assaulted when a man in a balaclava broke into her home with a knife.

4 – Haberfield, May 9, 1987: A woman, 36, was sexually assaulted at knife-point in her unit by a man in a balaclava.

5 – Sydney, August 8, 1987: A woman, 23, was sexually assaulted at a public toilet at 7am by man with a knife.

6 – Randwick, August 15, 1987: A woman, 20, was sexually assaulted by a balaclava-wearing man with a knife at Randwick Boys High School toilets.

7 – Sydney, June 10, 1988: A woman, 25, was sexually assaulted at knife-point while jogging in Centennial Park at around 5.45am.

8 – Kingsford, October 31, 1988: A woman, 21, was raped at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man with a knife at her home.

9 – Sydney, December 8, 1988: A woman, 22, jogging in Centennial Park at 9am was raped at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man.

10 – Randwick, March 3, 1989: A woman, 33, was threatened with a knife by a balaclava-wearing man in a bungled sexual assault.

11 – Sydney, September 11, 1990: A woman, 33, was raped at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man at Centennial Park at about 5.45am.

12 – Randwick, May 10, 1992: A woman, 23, was sexually assaulted at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man at her home.

13 – Bondi, August 29, 1994: A woman, 23, was sexually assaulted at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man at her home.

14 – Bronte, March 25, 1995: A woman, 26, was sexually assaulted at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man at her unit.

15 – Bondi, April 25, 1995: A woman at the beach was sexually assaulted at knife-point by a balaclava-wearing man.

16 – Sydney, January 7, 1996: A woman, 29, was approached by a balaclava-wearing man with a knife, but she was able to escape.

17 – Waverley, April 18, 1998: A woman, 39, was was sexually assaulted at Waverley Cemetery at around 5.15am.

18 – Coogee, November 12, 2000: A woman, 20, a woman narrowly escaped being sexually assaulted when she kneed the man in the groin on Brook St.

19 – Waverley, October 30, 2001: A woman, 32, was sexually assaulted at Waverley by a balaclava-wearing man with a knife.

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