Man jailed for 1989 rape

|News, Sexual offences

A 64-year-old man has today been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment after he found guilty at Stafford Crown Court of raping a teenager in 1989.

On 5 May 1989, the victim, who was 17 years old, caught a train from Shrewsbury intending to travel to Wellington. She missed her stop and got off at Telford.

With no return ticket to Shrewsbury or money, she approached Irvine Watt, who was aged 35 at the time and a black cab taxi driver, and explained the situation she was in. He offered to help her and drive her to Wellington.

The defendant instead drove her to a field and raped her. He then drove the victim back to Telford railway station, gave her £1.70 for a ticket back to Shrewsbury. The victim later informed her family as to what had happened and then the police.

Following a police investigation Watt was arrested and later charged, however, on 22 September 1989, due to lack of forensic evidence, the prosecution was dropped and the defendant acquitted.

In 2014, a review was carried out of the forensic evidence which provided a DNA match to the defendant and was matter was successfully brought before the Court of Appeal under the rarely used ‘double jeopardy’ legislation. He was arrested and a successful application was made to quash the 1989 acquittal. Watt was subsequently charged with and today found guilty of rape and attempted rape.

Robin Allen, with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “I would like to first thank the victim for her courage and support in this case which has assisted us in bringing this dangerous sexual predator to justice.

“For nearly 30 years Irvine Watt had thought that he had escaped justice, however, through new forensic techniques, we were able to match the defendant’s DNA to the 1989 rape.

“The prosecution team were able to use this key piece of evidence to reopen the case, make an application to quash the previous acquittal and order a retrial resulting in today’s successful conviction.”

Notes to editors

  • Robin Allen is District Crown Prosecutor with the West Midlands CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit
  • Irvine Watt DOB is 14.11.1953

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