SHE has waited more than three decades for justice – but now the victim of a knifepoint rape in a Basingstoke park finally knows that her attacker is going to be locked up for a long time.
Robert Gordon was on Wednesday found guilty of rape, indecent assault and making threats to kill in relation to the terrifying attack, which happened in the afternoon of July 9, 1981.
After the Winchester Crown Court jury returned their verdict, they heard that 56-year-old Gordon was already a convicted rapist.
He pleaded guilty in 1982 to raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl at her home in August of that year, just three years after he married his wife Michele, who is standing by him.
He was sentenced to four years in jail for that offence – but he had escaped justice in relation to the rape in the Basingstoke park for more than 30 years.
However, today he knows that he is facing a “significant custodial sentence” after he was brought to justice by detectives who carried out a so-called cold case investigation last year.
The trial heard that experts who pieced together a partial DNA profile from samples collected from the victim at the time, found only one match on the national DNA database – Gordon – who often walked in the park where the rape took place.
During the trial, which lasted six days, the jury heard the woman, then in her 30s, had been walking her two dogs through the park at around 4.30pm.
Gordon, of Gainsborough Road, Black Dam, Basingstoke, asked her for directions before kicking her legs from under her and forcing her to the ground, pulling her hair and banging her head on the ground.
Prosecuting, Stephen Parish said: “He was holding the point of 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’.”
Mr Parish said Gordon pressed the knife to his victim’s chest so hard that she still bore a scar from the attack.
Defending Gordon, Nick Wayne said his client – who the jury have now learned also has a string of previous convictions including burglary, theft, harassment, assault and actual bodily harm – strongly denied raping the victim. He pleaded not guilty to the three charges he was facing.
Mr Wayne said “a shadow” was cast over the DNA evidence because of mislabelling on the samples and he argued that Gordon’s appearance at the time differed dramatically from that of the attacker.
However, the jurors found the DNA evidence against Gordon was compelling and they took around four hours over the course of two days to find him guilty of all counts.
Gordon showed no emotion when hearing the verdict, but members of his family shouted obscenities after the judge and jury left the court. Sentencing has been postponed for a medical report and presentence report to be prepared.
Mr Wayne said Gordon knew he was facing an “immediate and significant custodial sentence” and pleaded with judge Mr Justice Hamblen to grant his client bail ahead of sentencing as an “act of compassion”.
The request was refused and Gordon was remanded in custody.
Speaking outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Dick Pearson, of the Hampshire major investigation team, said he was pleased with the verdicts.
He said: “Hampshire Constabulary is continually reviewing serious crime investigations to see if opportunities exist to identify and prosecute offenders.
“We are pleased that this case has finally been brought before the courts and that the jury has returned guilty verdicts on all counts.
“Hopefully, this signals the start of a process where the victim can begin to come to terms with what happened to her all those years ago.”