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Friday, Feb 03, 2023

UK man jailed for rape in 1990 after DNA match on another crime

UK man jailed for rape in 1990 after DNA match on another crime

Paul Shakespeare’s attack on an 18-year-old woman in Cheltenham left her so traumatised she did not tell her family
A man has been jailed for raping a teenage woman more than three decades ago after he was arrested last year for an unconnected crime and his DNA found to match the attacker’s profile.

Armed with a large sharpened stick, Paul Shakespeare grabbed his 18-year-old victim from a footpath in Gloucestershire as she walked her dog and dragged her into bushes before attacking her.

The daylight rape in Cheltenham left the teenager so traumatised she never told her family what happened to her on the afternoon of Sunday 29 April 1990.

After raping the girl, Shakespeare threatened to find her and kill her if she told anyone, Gloucester crown court heard.

Shakespeare, now 66, was brought to justice after he was arrested in Cumbria last year and his DNA matched. He was jailed for nine years.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the victim said the rape had a profound effect on her causing her to try to take her own life.

“I couldn’t tell my family because of the shame I felt, I felt embarrassed, violated and dirty,” she said. “To this day my mum is not aware of what happened to me.

“Being raped will haunt me for the rest of my life. On that day I was the most scared I have ever been. I didn’t know whether I would live or die – I was petrified.”

Virginia Cornwall, prosecuting, told the court the attack took place in daylight near to a children’s play area on the Honeybourne line, a former railway line area popular with walkers and cyclists.

She said: “This was a premeditated stranger rape when a weapon was used to gain the victim’s submission. The defendant had noticed the teenager alone and he had selected her.

“After raping her he asked where she lived and where she worked and it seems she told him through fear. Before running off he told her: ‘I know where you live and where you work and I’ll come and find you. If you tell anyone I’ll kill you.’”

An investigation was launched and despite local and national press coverage, Shakespeare was not caught. In 2008 the victim took part in a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction but the defendant still evaded justice.

In June last year Shakespeare was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and his DNA matched samples taken from the rape. He pleaded guilty to rape and possession of an offensive weapon.

Kim Whittlestone, defending, said Shakespeare, from Carlisle, has been married for 20 years to an NHS nurse and he had three adult children.

Judge Michael Cullum said: “I am so relieved this day has finally come for your victim. For 30 years she has been denied justice and living daily with the nightmare you inflicted upon her. She knew this day would come and her remarkable faith in criminal justice has been borne out.”

Outside court, DC Simone Bowley praised the victim’s courage, adding: “She has had to wait for more than 30 years for Shakespeare to admit his abhorrent crimes.”

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