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Bridgnorth man pleads guilty to rape after DNA match

A 58-year-old man from Bridgnorth has been convicted of raping a woman nearly 25 years ago after police linked him to the crime when he had his DNA taken last year during a separate police investigation.

Mark Hemmings
Mark Hemmings
Mark John Hemmings, of Tasley Close in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, might have thought he had escaped justice after a woman was raped in Telford Town Park in February 1993. Hemmings subjected his victim, Margaret Gordon, who was 36 at the time, to a violent rape as she was making her way to work through the park. She reported the incident to police and an investigation began but no suspect was identified at the time, sadly Margaret has since died.

During the separate investigation, a sample of Hemmings' DNA was taken and stored on the national database, this was tested with up-to-date techniques and threw up a match to the original crime.

At a hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court today (Friday, 2 February 2018) Hemmings pleaded guilty to rape.  He will be sentenced on 2 March.

Detective Inspector Mark Bellamy said: "This was a terrifying and violent ordeal for the victim and I am very sorry that she is not here now to see justice being served.

"I hope her family can take some comfort from the fact that her attacker has finally been caught.

"The investigation has never closed and thanks to forensic science and meticulous work by detectives, Hemmings has now been convicted.

"We remain committed to pursuing rapists and sexual offenders, regardless of the time which has passed since the offences were committed."

Julia Mcsorley, Senior Crown Prosecutor with the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: "The Prosecution Team were able to link Hemmings to the rape which he committed in 1993 through the use of forensic evidence. This key piece of DNA evidence has helped us to bring this dangerous sexual predator to justice for a crime which he thought he had got away with.

"This offence had a devastating effect on the victim and her family and our thoughts are today with them. We hope that today's conviction will provide some measure of comfort to them."   

Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence is encouraged to report the incident to police, where specially trained officers will help victims with care and sensitivity. Alternatively, there are many agencies you can approach for help, guidance or support which offer a variety of services. Please see http://stoprapenow.co.uk/4284 for more information and for a list of the agencies available in your area.

Issued: Friday 2 February 2018 13:45 HB, Corporate Communications

 

Published 02/02/18