Bristol

Cheryl Grimmer murder: Man appears in Australia court

Cheryl Grimmer pictured in a family photo Image copyright NSW Police
Image caption The family had only just emigrated to Australia from Bristol when Cheryl disappeared

A 63-year-old man has been charged with the abduction and murder of a three-year-old British girl in Australia nearly 50 years ago.

Cheryl Grimmer went missing from a shower block at a beach in New South Wales in 1970.

A court heard the British-born man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, required urgent psychiatric treatment.

Police said it was unlikely that the body of the little girl, originally from Bristol, will ever be found.

Man held over one of Australia's biggest mysteries

Speaking outside court in Woollongong, a city south of Sydney, members of the Grimmer family said the latest events had been "traumatising" for them, and they were unable to feel any sense of closure.

Cheryl disappeared from Fairy Meadow beach in Wollongong on the afternoon of 12 January 1970.

Image copyright NSW Police
Image caption Cheryl with her late father, Vince Grimmer

She was there with her mother, Carole, and her brothers Ricki, seven, Stephen, five, and Paul, four.

The family had only recently emigrated to Melbourne from Bristol.

Image copyright NSW Police
Image caption Cheryl's brother, Stephen Grimmer, returned to Fairy Meadow Beach last year

Cheryl's disappearance sparked a massive search at the time as one of Australia's longest-running mysteries.

Detectives re-examined the case last year and said they had found three witnesses who said they had seen a teenager "loitering" near the scene.

The accused is due to appear in court again in May.

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