A heartbroken mother has spoken whose daughter was raped and murdered in her own bed says she has forgiven the killer.
Nancye O’Reilly, 67, found her daughter Alicia, then six, dead inside their Avondale home, in west Auckland, on August 16 in 1980.
Alicia shared a room with her sister Juliet who was sleeping just metres away but somehow had not woken during the harrowing attack.
‘I went up to the bed and I remember grabbing her arm and her arm was semi-stiff and I just dropped it. I knew,’ Ms O’Reilly told New Zealand Herald.
Alicia O’Reilly (pictured) was raped and murdered in her own bed in west Auckland on August 16 in 1980
After calling the police one officer took Ms O’Reilly aside and told her bluntly what had happened to Alicia prompting her to rock backwards and forwards and emit ‘an awful noise’.
The police officer told her to be quiet because her other daughter was asleep.
‘And I shut up. And shut down. That’s the only way I can really describe it. It’s taken me years to get to where I am today,’ Ms O’Reilly said.
Hundreds of suspects were questioned in the homicide investigation and some physical clues were left behind but Alicia’s killer has never been found.
Auckland detectives are now re-investigating the case, 40 years on from when Alicia was brutally attacked.
Ms O’Reilly, who now lives in Whakatane, said her anguish over the horrific death had never gone away.
‘I don’t think any of us can comprehend why an adult male would want to rape a six-year-old, you can’t get your head around it, it just doesn’t make sense to any normal person,’ she explained.
The 67-year-old, who is also battling cancer, described Alicia as a ‘full on’ child who liked to have fun.
Ms O’Reilly said she was grateful to the police for re-investigating her daughter’s death and there were many unanswered questions that still haunted her.
Ms O’Reilly (pictured) said the anguish over her daughter’s death had never left her
Ms O’Reilly explained she didn’t need revenge or a criminal trial and only wanted to be able to put and face and a name to her daughter’s killer.
Her eldest daughter, Juliet, had never been able to come to terms with her sister’s death. She tragically died in a car accident at just 14-years-old.
Despite the terrible crime ripping apart her family Ms O’Reilly said she had forgiven her daughter’s killer so she could move on with her life.
Detective Inspector Stu Allsopp-Smith, who was a young trainee involved in the original homicide investigation, said Alicia’s case was ‘unfinished business’.
Police are now scanning old documents into digital files as part of ‘Operation Sturbridge’ to study the original evidence in a modern way.
He said the case had individuals who could be considered persons of interest and urged anyone with any information to come forward.
Inspector Allsopp-Smith said Alicia’s horrific murder was something that had stayed with him throughout his career.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted New Zealand Police for comment.
Alicia’s (pictured) killer was never found and Auckland police are re-investigating the case 40 years after her death. They have urged anyone with information to come forward