DNA evidence snares Leicester rapist 22 years after attack


A man has been jailed after being found guilty of raping a prostitute at gunpoint more than 20 years ago.

John Townsend denied the rape and sexual assault of the woman on the outskirts of Leicester on April 23 1994.

He left traces of DNA following the attack but it was only following advances in the technology that he was identified as a suspect in 2013.

Townsend, 45, previously of Cornwall Road, Wigston, was found guilty of the charges in December and sentenced to 15 years in prison at Leicester Crown Court on Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Townsend agreed a price for sex with his victim and took her to a remote car park.

He then took out a handgun and raped her before driving away without her.

Townsend was required to give a DNA sample two decades after the crime, and it matched one taken from the victim at the time of the attack.

Lawrence English, head of the CPS East Midlands rape and serious sexual offences team, said: "Townsend subjected his victim to a terrifying ordeal.

"It cannot have been easy for her to have revisited the events of that night and part of her past life, but she has given clear, compelling evidence that has brought Townsend to justice for what he did.

"The seriousness of his offending is reflected in the sentence handed down by the judge.

"This case demonstrates the value of securing evidence at the time of the offence, from witness accounts to DNA forensics.

"Although there was nothing that could be achieved with the samples at the time, modern scientific advances meant that when a sample was taken from Townsend, it identified him as the rapist."