Jury told how police tracked down man 30 years after woman was raped in park

Basingstoke Gazette: Flashback to The Gazette of Monday July 13, 1981, reporting on the hunt for the rapist. Flashback to The Gazette of Monday July 13, 1981, reporting on the hunt for the rapist.

A KNIFE-WIELDING rapist was traced through his DNA - 30 years after he attacked a woman in a Basingstoke park, a jury was told.

Robert Gordon, of Gainsborough Road, Black Dam, Basingstoke, has gone on trial after he was accused of raping the victim at knifepoint in War Memorial Park on the afternoon of July 9, 1981.

The rape victim became too distressed to continue giving her own evidence as she recalled the events that led up to the sex attack.

Winchester Crown Court heard the victim was walking her two dogs across the Basingstoke park when a stranger asked her for directions to Riverdene before grabbing her, forcing her to the ground and raping her at knifepoint.

Stephen Parish, prosecuting, said the attacker pulled his victim's hair and banged her head hard on the ground.

Mr Parish said: “He was holding the knife above her so that it was pointing at her chest and kept telling her to stop screaming 'otherwise I'll bloody well have to kill you'.

He said that after the sex attack, which took place in broad daylight at 5pm, the rapist “casually walked” off in the direction of Riverdene.

The victim, who was in her 30s, immediately reported the rape, was medically examined and gave a statement to the police. In the absence of any other eyewitnesses or clues, the case went unsolved, but the court heard it was reopened in 2010 by Hampshire Police as part of Operation Galaxy, which involves officers looking at so-called cold cases.

Mr Parish said: “They looked at unsolved sexual crimes where there was potential DNA evidence to see whether there were any matches on their database. They first looked in the Hampshire area. They came up with one (suspect)... and he lived in Basingstoke. That man is the defendant.”

The court heard there are probably fewer than 100 men in the UK with the same DNA who could have committed the rape. Mr Parish told the jury: “However, this man lived in Basingstoke. He often walked in the very park where this rape took place. What are the chances of there being two men out of fewer than 100 in the UK being in the same town, frequenting the same park, with the same jewellery and hairstyle? The answer, it is submitted, is none.”

The court heard that officers arrested Gordon at his home in July 2011. They also seized jewellery and photographs from the property.

The rape victim became distressed as she gave evidence from behind a screen. She began describing what she had been doing before the attack but then became too upset to continue. Prosecutor Mr Parish took over, reading her statement to the court.

Talking about the aftermath of the attack, the victim's statement said: “I was so weak that I could not get up and chase after him. I was sobbing but did not realise I was crying.”

In her statement, she added: “I was terrified that the man would use the knife on me and kill me. He asked if I was local. I said 'no', and he said: 'yes, you are. I'll see you regularly'.”

The jury have been shown a cutting of The Gazette's coverage of the attack from the time, which included a photofit picture of the alleged attacker. Gordon, who is 56, has pleaded not guilty to rape, indecent assault and making threats to kill.

The trial continues.

See Monday's Gazette, out now, for the latest on the trial.

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