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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 13:29 GMT
DNA traps rapist after 20 years
Russell Bradbury
Russell Bradbury pleaded guilty to raping a woman in Killingworth
A rapist who escaped justice for 20 years has been jailed after being traced by a pioneering DNA technique.

Russell Bradbury, 50, now of Shayfields Drive in Wythenshawe, Manchester, was not on the national DNA database.

However, a member of his family was, and when Northumbria Police revisited a 1986 North Tyneside rape case, crime scene DNA revealed a partial match.

As a result Bradbury was tracked down, pleaded guilty, and on Wednesday was sentenced to six and a half years.

The attack happened in October 1986 when a 22-year-old woman was returning to her home in Killingworth after a night out with friends.

Despite an extensive investigation, police drew a blank.

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

'Extremely satisfying'

Evidence taken from the victim was analysed using a cutting-edge technique known as familial searching.

This revealed a partial match with other profiles on the database, which were similar enough to suggest those named were close relatives, and this led to Bradbury.

He had lived in North Tyneside until 15 years ago, working as a doorman in Whitley Bay. He moved first to London then to the Manchester area where he worked on building sites.

Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Mathieson says: "This shows that the passing of time need not be a barrier to finding offenders.

"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 Crime Prosecution Service and the Forensic Science Service."

Bradbury's victim said: "It is a great relief to know that my attacker has finally been brought to justice after 20 years."

Cold cases solved by Phoenix
28 Sep 04 |  Tyne

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