A vile sex attacker was jailed for four years after police traced him using DNA found in skin trapped under his victim’s fingernails when she scratched his face.
John Elam, 44, pounced on the student as she walked back to her halls of residence after a night out in Coventry on June 22 this year.
Elam grabbed her by the wrist before dragging the 20-year-old woman into a doorway on Grove Street in the city at 3am.
He pinned her against a wall and sexually assaulted her but the student lashed out and managed to claw his face with her nails.
Elam fled screaming in agony and the victim dialled 999.
Forensics experts analysed the woman’s nail cuttings and found skin particles which provided a DNA match to Elam against the police database.
He was jailed for four years at Warwick Crown Court on Monday after he admitted attempted rape and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Speaking after the case, Detective Sergeant Jim Edmonds, of West Midlands Police, said: “This is a fantastic example of West Midlands Police using advanced forensic analysis to identify a sex attacker.
“We’re talking about microscopic skin cells found under the victim’s nails, but that’s all we needed to get a positive DNA result pointing to Elam as the prime suspect.
“He initially admitted sexual assault but we felt the seriousness of the attack warranted a stronger charge of attempted rape – that’s what we pushed for and the evidence we secured against him eventually gave Elam little option but to plead guilty.
“He has received a lengthy custodial sentence and placed on the sex offenders register for life – that means he’ll be monitored by police sex offender managers and live under strict conditions in order to protect the public.”
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