England

Norfolk man jailed for raping woman in Bristol 35 years ago

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Media captionRapist Stephen McCafferty confesses in police interview to attacking a woman in Bristol in 1981

A man who confessed to raping a woman in Bristol 35 years ago has been jailed for four years and eight months.

Stephen McCafferty, 62, of Thetford in Norfolk, recently admitted raping a 22-year-old woman on Wells Road in Knowle in 1981.

Police said McCafferty handed himself in and confessed on 30 December 2015, a fortnight after officers travelled to his home to take a DNA sample.

He will serve half his jail term in custody, Bristol Crown Court heard.

"I hate myself," McCafferty said in a recorded confession. "I wish I hadn't done it. You have your family you don't want to upset, you're scared of that."

'Given up hope'

His victim, speaking in a statement through the police, said: "I had completely given up any hope that the person who did this to me would ever be caught but thanks to the persistence of the police he was.

"Even after so many years the effects of what happened still remain but a conviction will be of some relief."

Avon and Somerset Police said: "He was unaware that the day before he travelled to Bristol (to make the confession), his sample was confirmed as a match to DNA recovered from an item of the victim's clothing."

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Media captionDet Sgt Peter Frake from Avon and Somerset Police talks about how his team investigate unsolved crimes which go back as far as 1946

On 15 July 1981, the victim was riding a bicycle along Wells Road, close to the junction with Somerset Road, when she was grabbed and subjected to a horrific rape.

No-one was charged at the time, the force said.

Several years ago, in a review of the case, DNA taken from the victim was matched to DNA recovered from the scene of a burglary in Long Ashton, Bristol, in May 1999, but there was no profile match on the national database.

Then, following another review six months ago, McCafferty's name was given to detectives who were focusing on the burglary investigation.

'Impact immense'

Shortly after Christmas, McCafferty made a full confession to the rape and the burglary.

"The impact of this crime on the victim's life has been immense, as 35 years on she still lives in fear and doesn't like to go out alone," said Det Con Scott Westbrook-Smith.

"Her bravery is inspiring and we appreciate all the support she's given us throughout the re-investigation of this case.

"It's also important to recognise the lives of Stephen McCafferty's family have been ruined as his confession to this crime came completely out of the blue."

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