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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Rapist caught by family DNA match
A rapist who escaped justice for 20 years was tracked down after DNA evidence was matched to his family.

Russell Bradbury, 50, pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to the rape of a 22-year-old woman in Killingworth, North Tyneside in 1986.

A new technique known as familial searching linked crime scene DNA to a family member on the national database.

Bradbury, now of Shayfields Road, Wythenshawe in Manchester, will be sentenced on 16 October.

Partial match

The attack happened as the victim was on her way home after a night out. She was threatened with death and dragged to a subway, where she was raped.

Despite an extensive investigation by Northumbria Police, the original inquiry drew a blank.

Almost two decades on, it was revisited by detectives from the force's Major Crime Review section, which incorporates the former Operation Phoenix.

Evidence taken from the victim was analysed and familial searching revealed a partial match with other profiles on the database, which were similar enough to suggest those named were close relatives.

'Extremely satisfying'

After a programme of targeted swabbing, a full match with Bradbury was found.

Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Mathieson said: "Once again we've demonstrated that the passing of time need not be a barrier to finding offenders.

"This was a horrific assault on a young woman who has spent the last 20 years with the knowledge that her attacker was still free.

"It's extremely satisfying to know that a rapist has been taken off the streets because of our commitment to using pioneering technology in detecting unsolved crimes and the excellent work of our partners in the Forensic Science Service."

Cold cases solved by Phoenix
28 Sep 04 |  Tyne

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