Warning: This article deals with accounts of rape/sexual assault and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.
Near a secluded reserve in Melbourne’s south west in 1980, James Dobbie waited in the bush with his sawn-off shotgun.
When a vehicle arrived, Dobbie emerged from the bush. Shotgun in hand, he demanded the couple inside did as he told.
He bounded the teenage boy to a tree and repeatedly raped his girlfriend at gunpoint.
Three years later, Dobbie struck again at the Rowville Police Paddocks, holding a double-barrel shotgun so close to a 20-year-old man’s face he could smell the gunpowder.
Forced into the back of his panel van, he too was forced to watch while Dobbie raped his girlfriend again and again.
“Bye bye,” Dobbie, now a 65-year-old grandfather, told them before fleeing.
He didn’t wait as long for his next attack. A month later, Dobbie struck again – but after pointing his gun through a car window, father-of-two Rodney Mitchell leapt naked out of the vehicle to confront Dobbie and was fatally shot during a struggle.
Dobbie left the scene with a woman who suffered significant cuts and grazes when she threw herself from a moving car to escape.
He then fled to Cape Tribulation in Queensland’s far north east and started a new life.
For almost 40 years, he got away with his crimes. He kept his secret through a marriage, hiding his past from his wife, daughter and stepdaughter.
That was until June 2018, when he confessed to his daughter. He demanded she drive him to a police station so he could confess.
She did, and despite his confession she and Dobbie’s stepdaughter have stood by him.
“I’d just had enough,” he told police. “I want to get it all out now.”