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27 April 2012, 15:14
A 60-year-old man has been sentenced to 8-years imprisonment, for a rape, which he committed 26-years ago in Windsor.
This follows a successful Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) application to quash his previous acquittal for the offence under rarely used double jeopardy legislation.
Alexander McGuire, from Greyhound View, Sandy Lane, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty at Reading Crown Court on 05 March 2012, to one count of rape after a re-investigation into the case by Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Review Team (MCRT).
Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “The CPS took the exceptional step of making an application to the Court of Appeal to quash the acquittal of McGuire and order a re-trial, and the Court of Appeal agreed with the application. The new and compelling evidence gathered by the police and presented by the CPS was so strong that McGuire recognised that justice had caught up with him and he had little option but to plead guilty. This saved the victim from having to give evidence at a re-trial. Time has not diminished the effect this incident has had on her life. She has waited 26 long years for today’s result.”
On 25 November 1986, the victim, then aged 29, was working at the McDonald’s restaurant in Thames Street, Windsor, on a late shift. During the course of the evening, she went to the lower area of the restaurant to do a stock take and called in to the toilet enroute.
As she emerged from the cubicle, she was confronted by Mcguire, who pushed her back into the toilet cubicle, threatened her that he had a knife, and brazenly raped her.
McGuire was arrested some months later, was picked out of an identity parade by the victim and charged with rape. However, he was found not guilty by a jury on the order of the trial judge.
As part of a cold case review, the MCRT re-opened the case in 2009 and the forensic evidence secured during the medical examination of the victim at the time of the incident was re-examined. New DNA techniques were used that were not available during the initial investigation. This identified a DNA profile, which matched McGuire’s DNA, with a one in a billion chance it was not his.
This new evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. As a result of a change in the law in 2005, which allows a person to be re-tried for a serious offence despite a previous acquittal, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) gave his consent for an application to be made to the Court of Appeal for the acquittal to be quashed and a re-trial to be held.
McGuire was arrested at his home in July 2011. The application by the CPS’s Principal Legal Adviser, Alison Levitt QC, to quash the previous acquittal was successful and the acquittal was quashed at the Court of Appeal in December 2011. The case was then prepared for re-trial by Thames and Chiltern CPS.
Baljit Ubhey OBE, continued: “This case highlights the commitment of the police and CPS to prosecute cases involving violence against women (VAW). Today’s outcome also demonstrates to people who commit such offences that they are never safe from justice and that our determination to ensure that justice is done remains undimmed, even years after offences are committed. This second prosecution would not have been possible without the change in legislation, the thorough re-investigation of the case by the Thames Valley Police MCRT, scientific developments, and the courage of the victim who was willing to support proceedings once again. I hope that today’s sentence will offer some comfort and closure to the victim after all these years. Our thoughts are very much with her at this time.”
Detective Constable Alison Brown, from the MCRT, said: “McGuire thought he had got away with his horrendous crime when he was originally acquitted over 25 years ago. However, due to the advances in forensic technology and new legislation under Double Jeopardy, Thames Valley Police and the CPS were able to prosecute him and he has finally been punished for his crime. This is an excellent example of the close working between Thames Valley Police and the CPS in bringing an offender to justice many years after the offence. His guilty plea shows he knew the evidence against him was too strong to deny and I am pleased with the sentence handed out to him. I hope cases such as this show other offenders that the MCRT are dedicated to solving unsolved serious crimes and will use every tool available to us to do so. I would also like to pay tribute to the victim, who was very supportive of the re-investigation. Although she did not actually have to give her evidence she was prepared to in order to make sure that McGuire finally received the punishment that he deserved.”
In order to protect the investigation and ensure a fair trial, reporting restrictions were put in place in July 2011, which have now been lifted.