Rapist Jailed 26 Years On

A driving instructor from Tonbridge has been jailed for eight years for raping a woman almost 26 years ago.

46 year old Martin Eke attacked Jacqueline Spriddell, who was just 21, as she walked home alone from a night out with friends in Folkestone in October 1986.

But he was not charged until cold case detectives reviewing the inquiry obtained a DNA match on a sample he gave police when he was arrested in 2005 for attacking his then partner.

Ms Spriddell, who was suffering from kidney failure, for which she underwent dialysis twice a week at the time of the attack, died in 2000.

Yesterday, jurors at Canterbury Crown Court took three hours to convict Eke. Judge Adele Williams said he was responsible for a "cruel, degrading and pitiless'' crime.

She said: "She must have been terrified during the assault. She was an especially vulnerable young woman.''

Eke, of Douglas Road, Tonbridge, was 20 at the time of the attack and living in digs in Folkestone away from his wife. He fled the town afterwards as police issued a photofit of Ms Spriddell's attacker which closely resembled Eke.

The judge said he had escaped justice for 25 years but that Ms Spriddell was not around to see it.

She went on: "Sadly, it has been too late for Jacqueline Spriddell to see her rapist receive justice but her friends and family are still here to see this.''

Eke - who has previous convictions for theft and a caution for common assault - showed no emotion as Judge Williams passed sentence. He will serve half his sentence behind bars and the remainder on licence.