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Hertfordshire Police say a man has today (March 27) been given a 30 year prison term at St Albans Crown Court after being found guilty at an earlier hearing of knifepoint sexual assaults in Berkhamsted 30 years ago.
52 year-old Paul Drinkwater who is of no fixed address in Maidenhead, had been brought to trial by officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit. He was found guilty on December 19, 2014 of two counts of rape, two counts of robbery and indecent assault. He had also been charged with two counts of having an offensive weapon.
These matters will lie on file.
During the trial the court heard how the first victim, a 15 year-old girl, was targeted on the evening of Sunday November 25, 1984. She was followed by a man who was wearing a balaclava. He grabbed her from behind dragged her from the street and raped her at knifepoint and stole property from her.
Three weeks later on December 15, 1984, a masked man approached two 18 year-old girls from behind. He was brandishing a knife and made threats to the victims before he raped and punched one of them and indecently assaulted the other he also stole property from them.
Extensive investigations were carried out at the time, which included appeals locally and nationally on Crimewatch. As part of these investigations Paul Drinkwater, who was living in Berkhamsted, was interviewed by police in February 1985 but not charged.
It was a review which began in April 2012 by the Major Crime Unit Cold Case Review Team, along with advances in DNA which led to him being re-arrested and subsequently charged.
Truly horrendous crimes
Detective Inspector Pushpa Guild from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit led the investigation and said:
"I am sure that Paul Drinkwater thought he would never face justice and I am pleased that he has been handed a significant sentence to reflect the seriousness of the offences he has committed.
I would like to thank the victims of these truly horrendous crimes for their bravery and courage in supporting the prosecution. Not only were they victims of such terrifying attacks decades ago, they have had to relive what happened to them. I hope that knowing this dangerous man will be behind bars for some time will be at least some comfort to them.
Cases such as these, where no charges are brought initially, are never closed and I would like to reassure other victims that we will regularly review such investigations and apply any new or advanced forensic techniques available to us now when possible.
Finally I would like to thank all of the officers and staff from across the Major Crime Unit and colleagues in Scientific Services who were involved in the case for their hard work and determination in bringing this case to court. Everyone involved has played a key role, particularly in relation to techniques around forensic science and expert evidence."
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the knife point rape and indecent assault of three teenage girls during two separate incidents in Berkhamsted in 1984.
"Paul Drinkwater wore a balaclava and brandished a knife when he committed the offences. Not only did he subject them to the most terrifying ordeal, he then stole from them before making his escape. These were planned, targeted and violent stranger rapes. Drinkwater is clearly an extremely ruthless, predatory and dangerous man.
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