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Friday, 24 August, 2001, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
DNA catches killer after 18 years
Court generic
A man who thought he had got away with murder for nearly 20 years has finally been jailed for life.

The move follows major advances in DNA technology which were used when the case was re-examined in 1998.

Anthony Ruark, now aged 40, became a prime suspect following the death of his lover, 25-year-old Jacqueline Poole, in February 1983.

She was discovered, half-naked, in the living room of her flat in Ruislip, north west London. She had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled with a bathroom light cord.

Despite being deeply suspicious of Ruark's alibis police were unable to pin the crime on him because of a lack of evidence.

Jacqueline Poole
Jacqueline Poole was strangled
In 1998 Mrs Poole's clothes were sent away for examination and semen found on them was matched with Ruark's DNA using a new technique called Low Copy Number (LCN).

William Boyce, QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "It showed Mr Ruark's body samples were on the deceased. It brings him here to be tried by you for a crime committed 18 years ago."

On Friday Ruark was found guilty of murder and jailed for life at the Old Bailey.

Ruark, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, had denied murdering Mrs Poole.

'Jewellery taken'

The court heard that that she had worn lots of jewellery, including several rings on each finger.

Mr Boyce said much of her jewellery had been taken.

"The defendant knew she had jewellery. He was her lover for a period.

"Although he was short of money before the killing, he was found to have more than might have been expected afterwards."


People may think they have got away with murder for decades only for science and the law to finally catch up with them.

Dr Jonathan Whitaker
Senior forensic scientist
Ruark's counsel, Nicholas Price QC, said: "He is a man who must have had this on his conscience for 18 years."

Judge Kenneth Machin told Ruark: "This was a brutal murder of a defenceless woman who had been nothing but kind to you."

He commended DCI McKinlay and said: "But for his re-examination, this case, this matter may not have come to court."

The judge said that but for the advances of science Ruark would not have stood trial.

Senior forensic scientist Dr Jonathan Whitaker said: "This case shows enormous benefits to the criminal justice system of our new DNA technology, combined with the national DNA database.

"It also shows how useful this can be in old cases where leads have gone cold. With the application of a dose of science and innovation, the investigations can at last bear fruit.

Praise for police

"People may think they have got away with murder for decades only for science and the law to finally catch up with them."

Mrs Poole's brothers, Terry and Lee Hunt, attended every day of the trial.

Terry Hunt said: "Ruark has had 18 years of freedom that he should not have had, but this is finally justice after 18 years of waiting.

"I have no feelings towards Ruark whatsoever, but I have nothing but praise for the police. She was a loving sister and we will never forget her."

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