Category Archives: DNA
A rapist who attacked a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford and eluded justice for nearly a decade was finally jailed today for nine and a half years.
Daniel John Barrett, 34, thought he had got away with the May 2004 crime when he dragged the girl into bushes in Cowley and subjected her to a terrifying 15-minute ordeal.
But he was forced to plead guilty to the offence at the city’s crown court after a DNA match was found, Thames Valley Police said, following his arrest for an harassment offence and a sample was taken as a matter of routine.
During the rape, Barrett threatened he would come back and hurt the teenager – who was dressed in her school uniform – if she told anyone about it.
He then ran off and the victim, who has been traumatised by the attack, ran to school to seek help.
Barrett, from Bretch Hill, Banbury, Oxfordshire, repeatedly denied he was the rapist when the DNA match was found but three weeks prior to the start of the trial, he changed his plea to guilty.
Detective Inspector Kevin McGuire said: “This offence has had a terrible effect on the victim. At the age of 15 the course of her life was permanently altered by the actions of Barrett and she still lives day-to-day with the effects.
“I hope the sentence passed down today goes some way in helping her to move on with the rest of her life knowing that the man who so drastically affected it is now behind bars for a very long time.
“Today’s sentence also highlights the benefit of the DNA database. Investigations of this nature are never closed until the offender is caught and brought to justice.”
A rapist acquitted of a “devastating” sex attack more than 25 years ago was finally jailed today following the discovery of conclusive DNA evidence.
Alexander McGuire, 61, escaped justice for a quarter of a century after he was wrongly found innocent when he stood trial.
Forensic evidence gathered during his victim’s original medical examination was re-examined using new techniques and revealed a DNA profile which matched McGuire’s.
He pleaded guilty to the 1986 rape in March after detectives concluded the likelihood they had got the wrong man was one in a billion.
He was today handed an eight-year prison term at Reading Crown Court. He will serve half this time behind bars, minus the number of days he has already spent in custody.
The court heard that McGuire pounced on married mother-of-three Joy Smith while she was at work at a branch of McDonald’s in November 1986.
Mrs Smith, who has waived her right to anonymity, was on a late shift and went down to the restaurant’s lower area to use the toilet at around 9pm.
As she emerged from the cubicle, she was confronted by McGuire who told her he had a knife, pushed her back through the door and raped her.
He was arrested some months after the attack in Windsor, Berkshire, charged and tried but found not guilty on the orders of the judge.
The verdict came despite evidence from his victim, then 29, who was able to pick out her attacker in an identity parade.
Years later, her ordeal was reinvestigated by Thames Valley Police’s major crime review squad.
Using methods of DNA analysis which were not available to the original investigation team, they were able to pin the crime on McGuire.
Officers applied to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consent for the case to be reinvestigated under double jeopardy legislation contained within the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
McGuire was arrested at his home in Greyhound View, Sandy, Bedfordshire, last July 2011 and the original trial verdict was quashed in December.
Passing sentence today, Judge Zoe Smith said: “These are matters on which nightmares are made.
“There can be no woman or man who can think of circumstances more terrifying than this.
“For your victim, not only did she have to deal with the impact of the rape itself and the terror that she had felt, but such was her distress that she and her family felt obliged to leave the area, leave her job and, because this is a cold case review, we know now the devastating effect that that event had on her life.”
Mrs Smith, 53, who attended court for the hearing, wept as McGuire was jailed.
Staring straight ahead, the balding and bespectacled defendant, dressed in jeans, a blue shirt and grey jumper, showed no emotion as his sentence was handed down.
Earlier, the court was told McGuire, who served with the Scots Guards, had a “very serious” history of sexual offending. He was jailed for three years at the Old Bailey in 1980 for two counts of rape and one count of burglary with intent to commit rape.
At the time it was noted: “This man will undoubtedly come to the notice of police again with respect of sex offences.”
“That turned out to be tragically prophetic,” said Alan Blake, prosecuting.
McGuire, who was dishonourably discharged from the Armed Forces, was imprisoned for a further five years for kidnapping a 17-year-old girl just three months after the 1986 attack.
Mrs Smith, who fled to Germany with her soldier husband Colin, in a bid to move on with her life, went on to suffer panic attacks and depression.
In a statement read to the court, the victim, now a grandmother, said: “I knew the right man was in court (on the first occasion) and couldn’t believe that he had got off.
“But I decided to get on with my life and try and carry on.
“He walked free from court that day to enjoy his life while I was left with a life sentence and the worry that he would find me again.”
The court heard how unspecified “legal submissions” made in his case in the 1980s led to his acquittal.
Judge Smith told McGuire he would be given credit for his early guilty plea in the second set of proceedings but added: “The court cannot wholly ignore the fact that there was a trial in 1986, so I take that into account when passing sentence upon you.”
Standing outside court alongside her 53-year-old husband, who left the Army in 1992 and now works as a driver, and her eldest son Billy, 33, Mrs Smith spoke of the “shadow” which has hung over her for more than two decades.
“To see him (McGuire) walk in was a big shock because it was just like yesterday… like I was seeing it again,” she said.
“When the judge was summing up, I was watching him and he started breathing deeply and I thought, yes, it’s affecting him.”
Mrs Smith, who now lives in Darlington, Co Durham, added: “It’s just been a shadow hanging over me, constantly there when you go out, the fear that something will happen, it’s been constant.
“I couldn’t get past it, I couldn’t get on with my life. It was always there and you can’t get away from it.
“But I felt today like I let go of it, hopefully, and put it behind me as best I can.
“It’s been a bad few years. I knew he was guilty – 26 years ago, I knew he was guilty – but I had to wait until now for him to admit it.”
Explaining her decision to waive her anonymity, she added: “I want other women to realise being raped is nothing to be ashamed of – they need to come forward.
“I have spent too many years being ashamed but I want people to know there’s no stigma. Being raped is nothing to be ashamed of.
“I just want them (other victims) to know that they can do it.
“Even if I only help a couple of people, it’s a couple more than before.”
Mrs Smith said her three children, Billy, Christopher, 32, and Georgina, 29, were “relieved” the family could now move on.
Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor of Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service paid tribute to Mrs Smith saying: “Time has not diminished the effect this incident has had on her life. She has waited 26 long years for today’s result.”
And she said McGuire would have escaped justice were it not for a change in legislation and the fresh police investigation.
“The CPS took the exceptional step of making an application to the Court of Appeal to quash the acquittal of McGuire and order a re-trial, and the Court of Appeal agreed with the application,” she said.
The “new and compelling evidence” was so strong that McGuire recognised he had “little option” but to plead guilty, she added.
“This case highlights the commitment of the police and CPS to prosecute cases involving violence against women.
“Today’s outcome also demonstrates to people who commit such offences that they are never safe from justice and that our determination to ensure that justice is done remains undimmed, even years after offences are committed.”
Detective Constable Alison Brown welcome the sentence and said police would continue to use “every tool available” to bring historic offenders to justice.
“McGuire thought he had got away with his horrendous crime when he was originally acquitted over 25 years ago,” she said.
“However, due to the advances in forensic technology and new legislation under double jeopardy, Thames Valley Police and the CPS were able to prosecute him and he has finally been punished for his crime.”