A rapist was finally caught by DNA evidence in a swab of blood 25 years after his crime when he called police to his home – to report a BURGLARY.
Vile Valentine Barnett, 60, thought he had escaped justice after raping a lone 20-year-old woman in a church doorway in January 1986.
But he led police straight to his front door when he was burgled and officers took forensic samples in a bid to trace the raider.
They later ran the blood samples through their database of unsolved crimes – and it revealed that DNA found in Barnett’s home matched that on the 1986 rape victim.
He admitted the offence and was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in prison at Bristol Crown Court on Monday.
Detective Sergeant Julia Mackay of Avon and Somerset Police said: ”It is ironic that Barnett was a victim of circumstances.
”He was a completely innocent party as far as the burglary was concerned, but that is what led to his downfall with the rape.
”This has been a fantastic investigation and in all the ones I have ever worked on it is one of the most rewarding.”
The rape took place in Bedminster, Bristol, in the early hours of January 30, 1986, after Barnett spotted his victim walking alone across the city centre.
The casual labourer, of St Paul’s, Bristol, began following the 20-year-old and trying to talk to her.
He then pushed her into a church doorway and raped her.
Despite the ordeal, the young woman managed to push him away and run into a nearby 24-hour printers to raise the alarm.
Investigation officer Gary Mason and DS Julia Mackay
Police were called and medical examiners took swabs of evidence from her – that would prove crucial 25 years later in catching the rapist.
A man was arrested soon after the crime but nothing came from the inquiry and the case was classified as unsolved.
But a breakthrough came last year during a periodic assessment of outstanding cold cases by Avon and Somerset Police’s specialist crime review team.
The review brought up a DNA match – from a swab of blood taken from Barnett’s home after he reported the burglary in 2003.
Cops then arrested and charged Barnett, who insists he cannot remember the attack but admitted it because of the overwhelming DNA evidence.
DS Mackay said: ”When we arrested him at his home in October he was shocked.
”He consistently denied committing the offence and said he couldn’t remember ever doing it.
”But it was obvious that it was him because the DNA evidence was compelling.
”He now accepts that it was him, and though he can’t remember the case he says he is very sorry for it.
”So he has shown remorse for something he can’t remember doing.”
Jamaican-born Barnett, who has lived in Bristol for most of his life and has no other criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to rape at Bristol Crown Court on February 28.
He came face-to-face with his victim for the first time in 25 years when he was jailed at the same court on Monday.
In an impact statement read to the court, she said: ”The reality of the situation was when I was younger I had dreams and ambitions to do that cliche thing to marry someone like my dad and go on to have children.
”I look back now and realise that the rape meant that I was unable to fulfil any of those ambitions and that the rape took me down a path in life that I never wanted to go down.
”I am so angry and very sad about it – I am not the person that I was and the person that I thought I would be.”
DS Mackay paid tribute to the victim and her investigating team, who spent six months building the case against Barnett.
She said: ”The team work tirelessly on cold cases such as this one and it is their tenacity that has led to this case being progressed to this stage.
”Twenty five years ago a young woman was subjected to a brutal crime that has left her with emotional and mental scars.
”Her courage and bravery to provide us with another statement reliving that night 25 years ago has resulted in the perpetrator being brought to justice.”