Friends of the woman who made a historic rape allegation against a current federal minister have paid tribute to their “warm” and “compelling” friend.
The unnamed woman took her own life in June last year, after grappling with reporting the alleged sexual assault to police.
She had reported the alleged assault to police in February 2020 and NSW Police detectives were due to travel to Adelaide last year to take her statement but they struggled to get into South Australia due to coronavirus border restrictions.
The woman alleges she was raped in Sydney in 1988 when she was 16 years old.
The man accused of the rape is currently a federal minister.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said the Minister “vigorously” denies the allegations.
Wine writer Nick Ryan told the program his friend was one of the most intelligent people he’d ever met.
“(Many of our friends) have gone on to fairly prominent and successful careers around the place, in politics or media or banking and various things … but (she) was always the best of them,” Mr Ryan said.
“Take me back to 1988 … to place a bet on which horse in this race is really going to go and succeed — my money would have been on (her).”
Jeremy Samuel, a Liberal candidate who has stood for pre-selection twice, and an entrepreneur, said his friend was “wonderful” but the alleged rape sent her life “off the rails”.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a really wonderful and special person, whose life went off the rails, and that’s extremely sad,” he said.
Mr Samuel, who has connections with the Liberal Part, called on the prime minister to launch an independent investigation into the alleged 1988 incident.
“I strongly urge the Prime Minister to commission an independent investigation into the allegations about the minister made by my late friend,” he said.
Mr Samuel is one of many friends who read the woman’s statement and repeatedly discussed the allegation with her, before she died.
Ms Dyer, who grew up with the woman in Adelaide and had known her since they were 15, said she was regarded as someone who would go far.
“She had such charisma and we all imagined that her life would be one of skyrocketing success, of achievement,” Ms Dyer said.
“(In our circle), there were many stars shining in the firmament, but (she) really shone the brightest, or certainly one of the brightest.
“She was a star, really.
“She was a girl with sharp intelligence, rigorous intellect, she was warm, she had a compelling eloquence.”
Ms Dyer said she the alleged rape had been “debilitating” to the woman.
“(It) really seemed completely consuming and completely debilitating to her,” she said.
“She was consumed with a trauma which she told me, deeply and consistently, was as a result of an assault that had (allegedly) occurred, early in 1988, and her life at that point was really devoted to exploring how she could get some kind of … peace from that.”
NSW Police formed Strike Force Wyndarra to investigate the allegation last year but officers struggled as coronavirus broke out across Australia.
Another of the woman’s friends, a not-for-profit executive, has offered to make a statement to NSW Police to assist the investigation.
The friend, Matthew Deeble, has revealed he was with the woman on the night the alleged rape occurred.
“She knew what she was going to be putting herself through by coming forward, with nothing to gain as a result of doing this,” Mr Deeble said.
“She was on a path to give her statement to the NSW Police, who were going to travel to South Australia to be with her and take that statement and move the matter forward.
“COVID restrictions stopped that occurring. And I know she was under enormous stress and distress because of those delays.”
Mr Deeble said the woman’s struggle was “heartbreaking” as he watched his friend withdraw her complaint before taking her own life in June.
“It’s not about politics, it’s about humanity,” Mr Deeble said.
South Australia Police are preparing a report for the state’s coroner.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Labor Senator Penny Wong, the politicians who received the letter with the allegations, have referred it to the Australian Federal Police.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who also received the letter, has referred the matter to the AFP.