A man who raped a teenage girl more than 30 years ago in Cheltenham has been jailed after a DNA match led to his arrest.
Paul Shakespeare raped the 18-year-old girl who had been walking her dog along the Honeybourne line on a late Sunday afternoon in April 1990.
Shakespeare, aged 66 and of Scaleby Close, Upperby in Carlisle was sentenced at a hearing at Gloucester Crown Court on, Monday 17 January, to nine years in prison.
A statement from the victim was read to the court in which she described how what happened that day has had a “detrimental effect” on her life.
She added: “Being raped will haunt me for the rest of my life. On that day I was the most scared I had ever been.”
The court was told in the statement that when police officers knocked on the victim’s door to tell her there was a suspect, she said: “I knew the day would come that they would tell me this news”.
I knew the day would come that they would tell me this newsPolice officers knocked on the victim’s door to tell her there was a suspect, she said
The victim had been walking along a public footpath on 29 April 1990 when she was approached by Shakespeare, who was a stranger to her. He was carrying a wooden stick which was sharpened into a point and had a nail protruding from one end.
Shakespeare then raped the victim in some nearby undergrowth and threatened her to not tell anyone what he did before he ran away from the scene.
The court was told by Virginia Cornwall, prosecuting, that this was a “premeditated stranger rape” and that witnesses had seen Shakespeare staring at girls and women throughout the day, that his behaviour was odd and he was acting suspiciously.
A full DNA profile was recovered at the time of the incident, but following numerous attempts over the years to identify the suspect there was no DNA match.
However, in June last year Shakespeare was arrested out of county for being in possession of a knife and his DNA was taken and added to a national database.
This later led to a forensic match to the 1990 rape and Shakespeare was arrested on 15 August last year and subsequently charged with the offences.
At a court hearing on 18 November last year he admitted one count of rape and one count of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
Judge Michael Cullum addressed Shakespeare and said: “I’m so relieved that this day has finally come for (the victim). For 30 years she has been denied justice and living daily with the nightmare that you inflicted on her.
“That nightmare of course does not end with a sentence. She knew that this day would come and her remarkable faith in the criminal justice system has been borne out.”
Shakespeare, who appeared in court via video-link, was told he will serve two-thirds of the sentence before being released on licence. He will also be on the Sex Offender Register for life.
Following the hearing, the victim said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank and praise Gloucestershire Constabulary for their efforts in securing this conviction on my behalf and for handling my case with such professionalism at all times.”