Nottingham rapist given life sentence for 1986 attack

09/12/2016

A convicted murderer has been sentenced for a rape he committed in 1986, thanks to advances in DNA technology.

John Bainbridge was convicted of murdering Rosemary Scott in her home in October 1986. He had planned his approach, watched her house and as attacked her at knifepoint as soon as he knew she was alone. A jury convicted him in 1987, finding that his attack was sexually motivated and that he had killed her when she tried to resist him.

Some five months previously, he attacked and raped a woman in her home. He watched and waited until the victim's husband left for work, distracted her and her children with a knock on the front door, entered the house by stealth and hid in the victim's bedroom. When the victim came back into the bedroom he attacked her at knifepoint, cut off her underwear with his knife and raped her in front of her children. The attack was strikingly similar to the methods used in the killing of Rosemary Scott, but the victim could not identify him at the time because his face was covered and her vision was obscured. Police investigators at the time took samples from the scene and her clothing, but DNA evidence was in its infancy.

Bainbridge was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years. When he was released on licence by the Parole Board, he was arrested for harassing a woman in Derbyshire. As is now routine, his DNA was taken and provided a match with the samples taken in 1986. He was charged with rape, pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence and was today sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 8 years.

Lawrence English, Head of the CPS East Midlands Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Team said: "This was the first of two sickening attacks committed by John Bainbridge. In both cases, he lay in wait and targeted women in their own homes when they were at their most vulnerable. It is clear that John Bainbridge is a highly dangerous man. The second time he struck ended in tragedy, but although this victim did escape with her life, she and her now adult children have had to live with the trauma caused by this horrific incident for the last thirty years.

"This case shows just how valuable a thorough investigation and preserving all evidence in a case can be. Advances in technology now mean that we can match DNA to a suspect, regardless of how long ago the samples were taken. This evidence can be used to prove where sexual contact has taken place. In this case the DNA evidence, coupled with evidence of how he had attacked both victims was so strong that Bainbridge had no means of defence, so pleaded guilty to this crime. There is no doubt that this conviction was made possible by the decisions by the police all the way back in 1986 to keep and preserve the samples, despite not knowing how DNA technology would develop.

"It is extremely important to make sure dangerous offenders like John Bainbridge are brought to account for their actions, regardless of what has passed since.  This breakthrough has given the victim and her children justice. I hope that seeing the man responsible for the cruelty inflicted on them all those years ago convicted, without them having to relive their ordeal at a trial will be of help to them."