Man Jailed 20 Years After Rape

1 February 2013, 17:18 | Updated: 4 February 2013, 11:48

A man who raped a woman returning from a Salvation Army meeting in Bedfordshire twenty years ago has been jailed for seven and a half years.

The 41 year old man was brought to justice when a sample of his DNA was taken routinely when he was arrested for a minor drugs offence in 2012.

The victim, who was in her 40s at the time, said her devout faith had sustained her since the ordeal. She was at Luton Crown Court on Friday 1 February 2013 to see her attacker jailed.

The man, whose name cannot be published at the moment for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the rape which was committed on Sunday 25 October 1992.

Helen Guest, prosecuting, said the attack was committed as the woman was walking along a dark footpath in Stotfold, Bedfordshire. She was wearing her full salvation Army uniform at the time.

Her rapist warned her to keep quiet, threatening to 'slit her throat' if she did not, and covered her face with the hat from her uniform.

She reported what had happened immediately afterwards but a massive police inquiry at the time failed to identify the culprit.

Jailing him, Judge Richard Foster said: "I can think of no greater violation on a fellow human being than what you did to that lady that Sunday evening.

"You have been apprehended 20 years later and brought to justice by DNA evidence."

Det Inspector Liz Mead from the Beds and Herts Major Crime Unit said: "This gives hope to victims that offenders can be brought to justice many years later thanks to the DNA database.

"It should also send a message to offenders that we will still come after them however old the offence is."

Tim Clark, defending, said: "He has a deep sense of shame and remorse. He knows he has to be punished and in fact he welcomes it.

"The victim says her faith has sustained her and that she pities him for the life he has had over the past 20 years in which he has had to think about what he did.

"He was a lost young man at the time and was abusing drugs and alcohol. He is a different person now."