Cheryl Grimmer: Man denies murder of toddler in 48-year mystery

Cheryl disappeared shortly after her family migrated to Australia. Courtesy: BBC

A man has pleaded not guilty to murdering a UK-born toddler who disappeared in Australia in 1970.

Three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer went missing from a shower block at a New South Wales beach not long after her family moved to Australia from Bristol.

The girl’s disappearance is one of Australia’s longest-running mysteries.

Her accused murderer, 64, is expected to face a trial in May. He cannot be named for legal reasons because he was 16 at the time of the alleged murder.

The man was arrested in Melbourne in March last year.

On Friday, he appeared via video link in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and entered a plea of not guilty.

Decades-old mystery

Cheryl went missing on 12 January, 1970, after a family trip to a beach in Wollongong, a city 70km (44 miles) south of Sydney.

It sparked a massive search at the time, but no trace of the girl was ever found.

Police said in 2016 that they had uncovered fresh information.

Over the years, Cheryl’s family have expressed frustration at not knowing what happened.

Her brother, Stephen Grimmer, said in 2016: “My mum and dad have passed on now not knowing, and we want to know too before we pass on.”

Detectives have said they doubt that Cheryl’s body will ever be found.