Man Convicted of Rape more than 28 years after the offence

02/12/2011

John Renner Dillon today appeared at Newcastle Crown Court and was given a discretionary life sentence, of which he must spend a minimum of three and a half years imprisonment for Rape.

In December 1982 the victim of Dillon's crime was asleep at her home in Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne when she awoke to find 16 year old John Renner Dillon in her bed.  He then raped her.  The victim sought help and named Dillon as her attacker.  Dillon denied the offence and in May 1983 the case against him went to trial.   The jury found him Not Guilty.

In 1992 Dillon's victim died at the age of 75.

In 2005 Northumbria police, as part of their continuing investigations into old and undetected crimes, sent samples taken from the victim for scientific examination.  In 2006 scientific advances meant that scientists were able to obtain DNA from one of those samples.   A search was made of the National DNA Database the DNA on the sample found to match the profile of John Renner Dillon with a probability of 1 in 1 billion.

The DPP gave his consent for an application to be made to the Court of Appeal to quash the acquittal and re-try Dillon for the offence.
 
Dillon however could not be found.   In 2002, after failing to attend court for an unrelated offence of rape, he had fled the country, eventually being located in 2007 living in Dublin.  A European Arrest Warrant was issued for that unrelated offence of rape; but that arrest warrant allowed for Dillon only to be arrested for the unrelated rape offence. Prosecutors therefore had to apply to both the Court of Appeal and the High Court of the Republic of Eire to get consent for Dillon to be re-tried for the 1982 offence of rape.

That consent was obtained and Dillon appeared once more before Newcastle Crown Court charged with the Rape that he had committed when he was 16 years old.  Unlike 1983, this time he admitted his guilt and was sentenced to a discretionary life sentence for the offence of rape with a minimum term of three and a half years.

Kingsley Hyland, Head of CPS North East Complex Casework Unit said The CPS and Northumbria Police have worked closely together over a number of years to bring Dillon to justice.

"The passage of time, the test which the prosecution must satisfy to apply for a case to proceed under the double jeopardy procedure and the need to get the consent of the Irish courts all provided significant challenges to the prosecution which we worked tirelessly to overcome.

 "I am only sorry that Dillons victim is no longer with us to see him finally admit his guilt."