A KNIFE-WIELDING rapist, who evaded justice for more than 30 years, has lost a bid to overturn his conviction.

Robert Gordon, 57, was brought to justice by a cold case investigation, which proved he raped a woman at knifepoint in War Memorial Park in July 1981.

It was advances in DNA technology which allowed the police to identify the victim’s attacker as Gordon.

Gordon, who is also a convicted child rapist and has a long criminal record, denied he was the park rapist, but he was found guilty after a trial at Winchester Crown Court, and was jailed for nine years in February last year.

Last week, Gordon, of Gainsborough Road, Black Dam, Basingstoke, went to the Court of Appeal in a bid to clear his name – but three judges said there was nothing which could cast doubt on the safety of the conviction.

Gordon was guilty of a “brutal” rape, aggravated by significant violence and the use of a knife to threaten the victim's life, said Lord Justice Treacy.

The appeal court heard the victim was walking her dogs through the park in July 1981 when she was approached by Gordon, who asked for directions. As she started to speak, he grabbed her and pushed her arm behind her back.

He punched her, tore her clothes off, bit and threatened to kill her, before raping her.

Gordon escaped justice for three decades, but advances in DNA technology enabled the police in 2010 to use forensic evidence gathered at the time to link him to the crime.

By then, his DNA was recorded on the national database, after he was convicted of dozens of criminal offences. Most seriously, he had been convicted in 1982 of raping a 14-year-old girl in her home.

Although he denied attacking the woman in the park, Gordon admitted he lived in Basingstoke at the time and that he frequented the area.

After Gordon’s conviction and sentence, the victim told The Gazette she had struggled to cope with life after the attack, becoming afraid to even leave her own house.

She added: “I don’t think anybody would feel that true justice has been done, given what I have gone through. No sentence can get back what I’ve lost.”

Challenging Gordon’s convictions for rape, indecent assault and making threats to kill, his barrister Mark McDonald argued that his client should never have stood trial.

He said it was impossible for Gordon to receive a fair hearing as much of the original police paperwork has been destroyed, and claimed there were inconsistencies in the victim’s description of her attacker.

Rejecting the appeal, Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mrs Justice Lang and Judge John Bevan QC, said the crown court judge was correct to let the trial go ahead.

He added the DNA evidence, the fact Gordon was from Basingstoke and used the park, and the victim's description of the attacker’s jewellery gave “some strength” to the prosecution case.

Lord Justice Treacy told the court: “We are satisfied that the conviction was safe, and this application is refused.”

Upholding the length of Gordon’s sentence, he continued: “The victim’s ordeal was a sustained one, lasting around 20 minutes. The attack has had lasting consequences for her life.”