Knife wielding predator jailed for 13 years - nearly 20 years after the attack (From Redditch Advertiser)
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Knife wielding predator jailed for 13 years - nearly 20 years after the attack
2:00pm Sunday 15th September 2013 in News
A PREDATOR who ambushed a woman in her own home and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint has been jailed for 13 years – nearly 20 years after the attack.
DNA taken from the attack linked him to the scene and he was arrested earlier this year, Worcester Crown Court heard.
Mark Harrison, aged 51, of Allensmore Close, Redditch, denied attacking the woman as she arrived back at her Wythall home carrying her birthday cake from work in 1994.
It was her 28th birthday.
She set the cake down on a wall while she let herself into her house and Harrison – who had been watching her for four days – struck, James Dunstan, prosecuting, said.
Wielding a knife and shoving the handle into her mouth to stop her from screaming, he pushed her to the floor and tied her hands and feet together, before removing her clothing and assaulting her.
Harrison fled after telling her not to call the police.
He was arrested in 2008 in relation to another incident and released without charge, but not before a DNA sample had been taken.
In 2011, the woman told her husband what had happened.
Harrison, a self employed driving instructor, was arrested in 2012 by detectives from West Mercia Police’s Cold Case Review Unit after being traced through his DNA.
Harrison denied aggravated burglary and indecent assault.
He told the court that after the break-up of his first marriage, he would trawl contact magazines and personal columns for women available for sex.
He would have sex in his car with women he met at the roadside and often throw used condoms away.
He assumed one had been picked up and he thought it was the only way he could be linked with the alleged victim, whom he said he had never met.
Judge Michael Cullum said it was an “horrific” attack and the victim had lived with it every day for 19 years.
“Having degraded her, he left her petrified on the kitchen floor too frightened to move,” the judge said.
Harrison “no doubt happily” got on with his life but it was not so for the victim, the judge added.
He jailed Harrison for 13 years for aggravated burglary with six years concurrent for sexual assault after the jury of six men and six women unanimously found him guilty of both offences.
Speaking after the court case Detective Constable Jim Crowther of West Mercia Police said: “It is every woman’s worst nightmare to be attacked by a stranger in their own home. In this case the victim was looking forward to an evening celebrating her birthday but experienced a horrific, life changing assault.
“Advances in forensic science meant that we were able to link Harrison to the assault, but he denied the charges, putting the victim through the further ordeal of having to give evidence at the trial.”
He added: “We hope the lengthy jail sentence handed down by the court means that after nearly 20 years she can finally have some peace of mind, knowing her attacker is behind bars.”
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