10 years 
 jail for knifepoint rape of a churchgoer

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A rapist who carried out a knifepoint attack on a woman after she had been to church has been jailed for seven and a half years.

The woman, who was in her 40s at the time, was pulled off the street, dragged down an alleyway and subjected to a horrific ordeal on waste ground in Stotfold, Bedfordshire, in October 1992.

Her attacker, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was arrested last year after a DNA sample he gave when arrested for a minor offence in the North of England matched one obtained from the rape scene and put on the national database when it was launched in 1995.

The man hung his head and sobbed as Luton Crown Court heard he told the devout Christian: “Don’t make any noise or I will slit your throat” several times during the ordeal, which lasted more than five minutes and left her bloodied and bruised.

He had previously pleaded guilty to the charge of rape.

Judge Richard Foster told him: “I can think of no greater violation of a fellow human being than what you did to that lady on that Sunday evening.

“Five minutes must have seemed an eternity.”

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Liz Mead said the victim was pleased with the sentence, adding: “She has close friends and family and she has her faith, that is how she has come to terms with it.”

She was in court to watch the man being jailed.

The court heard how he had grabbed her from behind and put his hand over her face to muffle her screams as he dragged her to a quiet spot before raping her. He even asked if she was enjoying it.

“I became extremely frightened, wondering what he would do to get away,” she said in a statement read to the court. “Then he said ‘don’t make any noise or I will slit your throat’.”

Timothy Clark, defending, said his client had been going through a difficult phase at the time of the rape, using drugs and alcohol.

“There have been 20 years which my client has had to think about what he did. He is now a different man,” he said.

But Judge Foster criticised the man for only pleading guilty when the case came to court, having offered no comment when interviewed by police after his arrest.

“The remorse of 20 years might have been better demonstrated by a full and frank admission at that stage,” the judge said.