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Last Updated: Monday, 10 September 2007, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
4,000 more 'cold cases' reviewed
DNA autoradiogram being picked up with a pair of tweezers from a petri dish.
Everyone, apart from identical twins, has their own unique DNA signature
Forensic scientists are to begin reviewing around 4,000 more unsolved sex crimes, the government has said.

The latest DNA techniques will be used to re-analyse evidence from rape and other serious sexual assault "cold cases", some dating back to 1991.

So far the Forensic Science Service has re-examined over 11,000 cold cases, as part of a 1m project, leading to the conviction of 30 sex offenders.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said: "These cases are never closed."

We are determined to ensure that victims receive the justice they deserve
Tony McNulty
Home Office minister

Offenders have been identified after samples of their DNA left at crime scenes were matched with samples on the National DNA Database.

Because of advances in DNA technology and because the database is growing every year, rapists and other criminals are now far more likely than previously to have a DNA sample on file.

The Home Office said almost all of the offenders convicted so far had proved to be "persistent and prolific violent criminals" with crimes stretching back many years.

Andrew Watkins
Andrew Watkins: jailed on Monday 16 years after he raped a babysitter

The government has committed 350,000 to this latest part of the review - known as Operation Advance.

Mr McNulty said: "We are determined to ensure that victims receive the justice they deserve and will continue to use advances in technology to help solve crimes, convict offenders and bring closure and relief to people who have had to live with the terrible effects of these crimes over many years."

The latest success for police using new DNA techniques came on Monday when a man who raped a babysitter 16 years ago was jailed.

A judge in Manchester sentenced 41-year-old Andrew Watkins, of Telford, to eight years in prison, after he admitted rape and indecent assault.


SEE ALSO
Man jailed for raping babysitter
10 Sep 07 |  Manchester
New DNA test to solve more cases
04 Oct 06 |  England
Force reopens 'cold case' crimes
22 Aug 07 |  South Yorkshire
Shoe fetish rapist gets life term
04 Sep 06 |  South Yorkshire

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