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Man who raped stranger 25 years ago jailed for five years
2:10pm Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
A man has been sentenced for the stranger rape of a woman 25 years ago.
Graham Wood, 48, was jailed for five years having pleaded guilty at a hearing on August 2 to raping and indecently assaulting a 20-year old local woman in an alley at The Goffs, near the town centre in Eastbourne, on the evening of Thursday, April 2,1987.
Judge Richard Brown sentenced Wood to five years taking into account a ten-year sentence he had been given for previous offences in 1988.
The rape was reported to police on the night it took place and was the subject of media publicity at the time.
Sussex Police recently decided to review and then re-open the case in the light of recent forensic advances, including in the field of DNA.
Wood, of Frinton Close, Rushden, Northamptonshire, was arrested at his home address by Surrey and Sussex Police Major Crime Team detectives on July 19 last year.
He was charged in September last year, following authorisation from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), when he answered his bail and has been in custody since then.
The court was told the victim was walking home alone late on the evening of April 2, 1987 when she was attacked by Wood, a complete stranger, who forced her into a driveway off the road, threatened her, and raped her before running off.
A detailed police investigation was carried out, as part of which forensic evidence was secured.
Wood was subsequently convicted of a very similar rape in Eastbourne late on the evening of March 27, 1988, when a local woman walking her dog was attacked and raped.
Police arrested him, and he was sentenced to a total of ten years imprisonment, having admitted that offence, two offences of assault with intent to rob, and one of robbery.
However at that time there was no evidence to connect him to the 1987 rape.
In 2010 police reviewed previous cases and linked the 1987 case with the nearby location of the 1988 rape.
They re-examined the DNA from both cases and took a current swab from Wood which proved to make a match. Wood had not featured on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) as it had not been established until 1995.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan said: “We will always take every opportunity to follow up allegations of serious and violent crime, however long ago they occurred, to offer support to those affected and to see if there is evidence which can be put before the courts.”