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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 16:18 GMT
Man jailed for gunpoint shop rape
David Decoteau
Decoteau was caught nearly 10 years after the shop rape
A convicted sex attacker obsessed with TV newsreaders has been given four life sentences for raping a shop assistant at gunpoint in 1996.

David Decoteau, 45, attacked an Ann Summers assistant in west London.

Decoteau, from Camberwell, south-east London, was found guilty of rape, indecent assault, false imprisonment and possessing a handgun.

Police found he had an "unhealthy fixation" with BBC presenter Emily Maitlis and two other TV newsreaders.

Decoteau was arrested after a Home Office review of unsolved sex cases.

DNA match

Jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court heard how he pretended to be a customer at the sex shop in March 1996 before grabbing his victim.

He threatened the 45-year-old shop worker with a pistol and told her he would "blow her brains out" before dragging her into a secluded office, where he raped her.

Decoteau stole 1,500 from the company safe before leaving the store.

Emily Maitlis
Decoteau wrote to newsreader Emily Maitlis while in prison
He was subsequently jailed for 12 years for a separate attack, when he raped a 15-year-old girl in a shop doorway.

However it took nearly a decade for Decoteau to be identified as the shop assistant's rapist, following a Home Office review of the case.

This was triggered by a one in a billion match between Decoteau's DNA profile, on file after his previous rape conviction, and swabs taken from his shop assistant victim.

When they arrived at his probation hostel in Camberwell, south east London, in May last year, police found a picture of newsreader Ms Maitlis, who he called his "special lady" and wrote to from prison.

Decoteau was also found to be "fascinated" with BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce and ITV newsreader Nina Hossain.

Judge Stephen Robbins described Decoteau's rape of the shop assistant as "appalling" and "merciless".

The judge told him that his "continuing behaviour" since his release from prison two years ago "leaves this court in no doubt you clearly represent a danger to society, namely a sexual danger to females".

"You have a deviant sexual interest in women and show a persistent preoccupation with sexual matters," the judge concluded.

Decoteau swore at the judge as he was told that he would have to serve a minimum of 10 years in jail before being considered for parole.


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