Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Rapist jailed after 1995 attack

Jason Clark
Jason Clark admitted rape and was jailed for eight-and-a-half years

A man has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years for raping a woman at a railway station in Kent 13 years ago.

Jason Clark, 37, of Mount Pleasant Road, Dartford, pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to attacking the woman, who was 27 at the time.

Sentencing him, Judge Michael Lawson QC said Clark had destroyed the life of a "decent young woman".

Clark was arrested over the attack in Otford railway station car park after advances in DNA technology.

The former refuse collector, who has also gone by the surname Downer and is married with children, will remain on the sex offenders register for life.

The court heard that he grabbed his victim from behind as she walked through the car park on her way home from a night out in London, in August 1995.

If we can't crack a case today there is every chance we will be able to tomorrow
Sue Pope, Forensic Science Service

Clark punched her in the head and threatened her with a knife in the attack, near Sevenoaks, just after 2200 BST on 2 August.

A DNA sample taken from the woman's clothing was later put on the national database.

The court heard that Clark was arrested for a drugs offence in 2000, and a DNA sample matched him to the earlier crime, but the case was discontinued after witnesses, including his victim, were unable to identify him.

Further investigations by forensics officers at Kent Police later helped to prove Clark was the rapist.

'Vicious attack'

The judge told him: "The consequences of your act that evening was to destroy the life of a decent young woman.

"You abolished her peace of mind, probably forever. Added to that, the effect on your wife and children will also be significant."

In a statement released after the hearing, Det Ch Insp Michael Atkinson said: "Clark carried out a vicious attack on a terrified woman.

"He didn't show any empathy during or after the rape. Instead he injured, degraded and belittled her.

"As the years passed and no action was taken, Clark must have thought that he'd got away with his crime."

Sue Pope, a scientific advisor on the case, said: "This has been one of the most technically complicated cases I have worked on in my time at the Forensic Science Service (FSS) but it should send out a message to offenders that we will use every available tool in our armoury to track down those who commit crime.

"Constant advances in DNA technology pioneered by the FSS mean that if we can't crack a case today there is every chance we will be able to tomorrow."

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