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DNA match traps rapist Valentine Barnett 25 years after attack watch

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    Rapist Valentine Barnett has been caught 25 years after his attack on a woman because he called police to his home to investigate a burglary

    Barnett thought he had escaped justice after assaulting a 20-year-old in a church doorway in January 1986.
    But while working on the break-in at his house, police took his DNA sample that was later found to match forensic evidence from the unsolved sex attack.
    ‘It is ironic that Barnett was a victim of circumstances,’ said Det Sgt Julia Mackay, who led the rape inquiry.
    ‘He was a completely innocent party as far as the burglary was concerned but that is what led to his downfall with the rape.’
    Barnett, a casual labourer from Bristol, admitted the offence and was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at the city’s crown court on Monday.
    ‘When we arrested him at his home last October, he was shocked,’ said Det Sgt Mackay. ‘He consistently denied the offence and said he couldn’t remember doing it.
    ‘But it was obvious it was him because the DNA evidence was compelling.’
    He was now ‘very sorry’ for the attack, which left his victim with ‘emotional and mental scars’, she added.
    The breakthrough came last year during a routine assessment of ‘cold cases’.
    A swab of blood taken from 60-year-old Barnett’s home after the 2003 burglary matched DNA found on the rape victim.

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