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Lover's Lane Rapist And Killer Sentenced Nearly 40 Years After Horrific Crimes

WARNING: CONFRONTING DETAILS.

Convicted killer and rapist James Dobbie has been hiding the secret of his horrific crimes for nearly four decades.

He didn't tell his wife during their relationship or after their marriage. He failed to tell his daughter and stepdaughter of how he stalked young couples, raped two women and murdered a man in a series of late-night attacks.

He only told his daughter in June 2018, when he demanded she drive him to Cobram Police Station, on the NSW/Victoria border, so he could confess his crimes.

He revealed to police on June 22 that he is the Lover's Lane Killer.

On Monday, Dobbie was sentenced to 31 years behind bars for raping two women and killing a man in the 1980s.

READ MORE: Rapist And Murderer James Dobbie Faces Supreme Court

James Dobbie
James Dobbie covered his face as he arrived in court on Monday. Image: AAP Images.

Dobbie, now 65, committed his first crime in 1980 when he waited in bushes near a reserve in Rowville, southeast of Melbourne. The place was popular for couples to meet because of the privacy it offered.

He approached a couple's vehicle in a balaclava, carrying a double-barrelled shotgun. He told the couple to do as he said. He separated the couple and tied the man to a nearby tree.

Dobbie then made the man watch as he raped the woman at gunpoint, reprimanding the man for not "doing it properly".

Three years after the initial incident, Dobbie acted again. It was late on the evening of May 23, 1983 when he approached a vehicle in the same way he did three years earlier.

He put the gun through the window of the car and into the face of Rodney Mitchell. Mitchell tried to reach for the gun but it went off twice. He was shot under the arm and died at the scene.

READ MORE: Killer New Mystery 'My Life Is Murder' Coming Soon To 10

Dobbie fled the area and police investigations into the rapes and murder went cold.

Dobbie's life continued. He had a child with one woman and married another.

It wasn't until 2018 that an anonymous phone call led police to connect Dobbie to the long-cold cases.

James Dobbie
Dobbie's crimes caught up with him in 2018. Image: AAP Images.

When his daughter drove him Cobram police station, Dobbie told police he couldn't carry his secrets any longer.

“I’d just had enough,” he said. “I want to get it all out now."

Justice John Champion said Dobbie will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of his sentence. By then he "will be an old man, unlikely to pose a threat to the community" -- if he lives to be released.

The court also heard victims still struggle with what happened to them all those decades ago. One of the men said he had “guilt for 35 years at not being able to protect” his girlfriend, while Rodney Mitchell's partner said she made up a story for her children about how their father died. She could not bring herself to tell them the truth.

Despite his crimes, Dobbie's daughter and stepdaughter have stood by him and have made regular visits to the prison where he is held.

It's not believed Dobbie has committed any crimes since 1983.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au