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Rapist of 92-year-old still sought

PUBLISHED: 23:05 01 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

EXACTLY a year after a rapist dragged a frail Ipswich pensioner off the street and set upon her, the brutal attacker is still at large.

Detectives hunting the man who grabbed his 92-year-old victim in Cobbold Street on her way home from a shopping trip have followed up 2,800 lines of inquiry over the past 52 weeks but the rapist remains free.

EXACTLY a year after a rapist dragged a frail Ipswich pensioner off the street and set upon her, the brutal attacker is still at large.

Detectives hunting the man who grabbed his 92-year-old victim in Cobbold Street on her way home from a shopping trip have followed up 2,800 lines of inquiry over the past 52 weeks but the rapist remains free.

A major investigation was launched after the attack at around 6.20pm on March 1, last year, which horrified the town. Officers were drafted in to work in a dedicated incident room and crimes across the country were checked for any similarities that would link the criminal to his crime, but still the rapist continues to elude police.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Braddy, who is heading the year-old rape hunt, said his officers have trawled through hours of CCTV footage and spoken to hundreds of people but the identity of the sex attacker remains a mystery.

"Unfortunately, none of the information we gained from members of the public, nor any of the inquiries we undertook have so far led us to identify the person responsible," he said.

No officers are currently dedicated to the investigation – though the inquiry remains open and ready to assess any new information should it come to light.

The horrific attack continues to effect the victim, however.

"It did have a significant effect on the victim's lifestyle and will continue to have an effect," Det Supt Braddy said.

Though forensic tests on potential evidence are over, they have so far failed to produce traces of DNA which could help identify the rapist.

"All the forensic work that we undertook has been completed and again there has been no information that has helped us identify the offender", Det Supt said.

"But the world of forensics is forever changing and improving," he added.

Scientific advances have made it possible to identify criminals years later, he said, adding that the rape inquiry was kept continually under review.

"We don't close cases," he said. "Forensic samples are retained and can be subjected to further tests at any time.

"At this moment in time, we do not have a DNA profile but that doesn't mean to say that with changes in forensics we don't end up with a DNA profile."

Detectives have little else to go on, he said. It was dark and the victim was picked up from behind.

"He effectively lifted her," Det Supt Braddy said.

"The street lighting was poor and at the garages [where she was raped off Cobbold Street], it was even poorer."

Police have not ruled out the possibility that the victim knew, or had met, her attacker before.

"It's been a line of inquiry that at some point in time they knew each other," Det Supt Braddy said. "They may have met on a previous occasion or lived near each other before."

Another line of inquiry was that the rapist could have been a door-to-door caller who had previously encountered his victim.

"What's important is that he would have been in the area for a purpose," he said.

Det Supt Braddy appealed for anyone who was in the Cobbold Street area just before or just after the rape last year to contact police if they have not already done so. He also asked for any woman who may have encountered a man who behaved strangely and made them feel uneasy to get in touch. And he urged people to alert detectives if their suspicions were raised about anyone whose behaviour altered as media attention focussed on the first anniversary of the brutal crime.


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