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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Man jailed by DNA relative match
Northampton Crown Court
Davies will be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court
A sex attacker who evaded police for seven years has been jailed after detectives traced him using DNA taken from a close relative.

James Davies, 32, from Camberley, Surrey, was jailed for four and a half years at Northampton Crown Court.

He admitted assaults in Hants, Cambs and Northants when arrested in August.

Despite leaving his DNA at the scene Davies had no criminal record so officers searched the National Police Database for a blood relative.

The technique, known as familial DNA, matched a "genetic fingerprint" of a relative who was on the list.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Davies' DNA was not listed on the National Police Database because he had no previous convictions and had not come into contact with the police.

The system works on the theory that related individuals' DNA profiles contain similarities.

Overpowered victims

His victims were all women out on their own walking their dogs.

He physically overpowered his victims, pushing them up against fences or into hedges.

Davies admitted three indecent assaults - the first on a 20-year-old woman in Farnborough, Hampshire, on 20 February 1998.

The second victim was a 32-year-old woman attacked in Eaton Socon in Cambridgeshire on 14 August 1998, and the third attack was on a woman aged 40, in Bozeat, Northants, on 12 January 2000.

The attacks were featured three times on the BBC Crimewatch programme.

Three police forces

Davies, who is married, was arrested following a joint operation by police in the areas where he carried out the attacks between 1998 and 2000.

Passing sentence Judge Adrian Redgrave said: "Any one of these three crimes taken in isolation is bad enough. It is not rape but it's a serious sexual assault committed in terrifying circumstances."

Det Ch Insp Tom Mason from Northants Police said: "The sentencing of James Davies marks the end of an extensive and thorough investigation involving three police forces."

The police operation - codenamed Mallard - was the first of its kind involving familial DNA on a cross-border investigation.

Man held over three sex assaults
18 Aug 05 |  Southern Counties

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