DETECTIVES investigating the alleged murder of home invader Ricky Slater-Dickson are identifying a significant number of burglaries committed by him in the weeks leading up to his death, including a violent attack on a young woman after she woke to find the suspect in her bedroom.
The terrified 22-year-old woman was repeatedly punched during the home invasion at The Junction just one week before Slater-Dickson lay unresponsive in a neighbouring suburb after allegedly being choked by home owner Ben Batterham after he found the convicted rapist inside his house.
The victim identified Slater-Dickson as her attacker after seeing reports of his death, and her suspicions were confirmed when a mobile phone taken during her attack was found at the alleged murder scene in Hamilton.
Her attack only ended when her screams were heard by other residents, Slater-Dickson running from the house after a door was opened by a person running to rescue the woman.
The Newcastle Herald understands it is one of a number of burglaries identified by Strike Force Bedra detectives as they work on the background of 34-year-old Slater-Dickson following his death on March 27, just hours after he was allegedly found inside Mr Batterham’s home and a struggle ensued.
He was then chased outside where a second struggle occurred on Cleary Street before Slater-Dickson was found unresponsive.
Mr Batterham has been charged with Slater-Dickson’s murder.
Slater-Dickson’s recent criminal history remains one of the focuses of Strike Force Bedra, set up to investigate the alleged murder.
His grieving mother, Beryl Dickson, has reportedly told Daily Mail Australia that her 120kg son “had a problem” with ice and confirmed a photograph of a man smoking from a lit pipe was her son from about “four or five” years ago.
It is understood detectives are sifting through burglaries throughout Newcastle and inner-city suburbs near where Slater-Dickson was living in Hamilton South.
They have identified an unknown number where he was a firm suspect.
But it was the attack at The Junction a week before his death which has highlighted his burglary motives.
Before it was known that Slater-Dickson was responsible, the victim had told police the suspect was of Aboriginal appearance and had attacked her after she woke in her bed to find him rummaging through her room.
He began to assault her before another resident was able to startle him into running from the house.
The time of the attack was almost exactly the same time and on a Saturday night – a week before Slater-Dickson was to enter Mr Batterham’s residence.
It is alleged Mr Batterham and a friend found Slater-Dickson inside the house where a confrontation took place before the invader escaped.
But a second confrontation took place down Cleary Street, where Mr Batterham is alleged to have choked Slater-Dickson after being assaulted by him.
Slater-Dickson was sentenced to at least four years’ jail for the rape of a 16-year-old girl inside a Tamworth home in 2007, after he pushed his way inside and bashed her before sexually assaulting her.
He was also jailed for a ram raid on a Nauti & Nice store at Sandgate before being released on appeal last December.
Mr Batterham, who remains in maximum security as his renowned defence barrister Winston Terracini SC prepares a bail application, has also reportedly undergone blood tests for HIV and hepatitis after allegedly being bitten by Slater-Dickson during the altercation on Cleary Street.