Man Cleared Of Knifepoint Sex Attack

A Southampton man accused of raping a university graduate at knifepoint on the night of Live Aid 26 years ago has been cleared by an Old Bailey jury today (18th April).

The woman, who was 21 at the time, wept as she told the court of her terror when a man broke into her home and attacked her in her bed in the summer of 1985.

Rodney Francis, 49, of Maryfield, Southampton, was arrested last year following a cold case review.

It was alleged that palm prints found at the victim's address at the time, in south London, linked him to the attack.

But he was cleared of one count of rape, another of an attempted serious sex assault and a third of aggravated burglary.

After the verdicts, the judge, Recorder Michael Topolski QC, told the jury: “There can be no doubt that that woman suffered that ghastly event, but you are not satisfied that it was him.”

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