A promising boxer has finally been brought to justice and convicted of rape – 21 YEARS after he brutally attacked a mum leaving her with a crushed jaw.
Mark Harrison, 42, launched the savage assault on a woman in her 30s as she walked home from a night out with friends on February 7, 1992.
A court heard the promising light-welterweight hit the mum to the floor from behind before dragging her towards garages on a trading estate.
Harrison then threw the woman to the ground and raped her twice – pushing down on her face “as though it was his whole weight.”
After the terrifying attack, the boxer then zipped up his trousers and ran from the scene in Nuneaton, Warks.
Internal swabs taken from the victim produced a DNA sample but police found no match and, despite widespread appeals at the time and a year later, no-one was arrested.
But scientific advances led to Warwickshire Police carrying out a cold case investigation into the rape earlier this year.
Officers then discovered that semen found on the victim after the attack matched Harrison’s DNA and he was arrested at his home on June 5.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, Harrison, from Nuneaton, insisted he hadn’t raped the woman and stood trial.
But a jury at Warwick Crown Court took just over an hour to find him guilty by unanimous verdicts of rape and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Thursday (5/12).
The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on Harrison, who was remanded in custody.
But Judge Robert Orme told him: “These are very grave offences. I am going to give consideration to a life sentence.
“And if it is not a life sentence, it will be a very lengthy sentence indeed.”
During the two-day trial, prosecutor Stefan Kolodynski said the victim had decided to walk home instead of getting a taxi because she wanted to save money for a shopping trip the next day.
He added: “What happened next is the stuff of nightmares. She felt a very forceful blow between her shoulder blades, sending her face-down to the
“Her face was wet, and she then realised it was blood. She turned her face to look behind, and he grabbed her by her chin.”
Mr Kolodynski told the jury Harrison held her neck and chin and dragged her to the garages even though she pleaded with him: “Don’t, don’t”.
But the amateur boxer told her to “shut up” and put his hand up her skirt before pulling at her underwear.
Harrison then raped the woman twice before fleeing the scene – leaving the victim covered in blood and spitting out her own teeth.
As a result of the brutal attack the woman’s upper jaw was crushed and she lost two teeth.
Mr Kolodynski also told the court Harrison’s DNA sample matched the profile of that taken from his victim – adding that the chance of it matching anyone else was one in a billion.
When questioned after his arrest, Harrison – who was an accomplished amateur boxer at the time of the attack – denied raping or assaulting anyone.
After the jury returned its guilty verdicts, the court heard the victim still suffers physically and emotionally as a result of her ordeal.
The woman said she still gets frightened by people walking behind her and recently suffered a panic attack when someone was walking behind her in a park in daylight.
Harrison has previous convictions for dishonesty and was convicted of grievous bodily harm in 1994.
After the hearing, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Pete Hill, said: “I am very pleased that Harrison has been found guilty to this offence and that the work and patience of the investigation team, and the victim herself, has paid off.
“This case is all about the courage displayed by the young woman at the time and the courage that she and her family have displayed every day since the day of the dreadful attack.
“I cannot imagine what it must be like having to get up and get on with life every day not knowing if the person that you were speaking to or walked passed you in the street was the one who had attacked you.
“I would like to pay tribute to her for her courage and the support she has given to my officers throughout this investigation.
“I hope that today’s verdict will begin to bring some closure for her and help her to move forward in her life.”
Harrison will be sentenced on January 13, 2014.