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Rapist finally brought to justice 30 years later after being tracked by DNA

A rapist who subjected a teenage dog walker to a ‘horrific’ attack has finally been brought to justice 30 years later after being tracked down via a DNA hit.

Paul Shakespeare, 66, grabbed the 18-year-old as she was walking her dog along the Honeybourne line – a section of railway converted into a footpath – in Cheltenham on April 29, 1990.

He threatened the terrified teenager with a sharpened stick which had a nail driven through it, using the crude weapon to force her into some undergrowth where he raped her.

Shakespeare, from Carlisle, then warned her not to tell anyone before fleeing.

Undated handout photo issued by Gloucestershire Constabulary of Paul Shakespeare, who has admitted raping a teenager more than 30 years ago in Cheltenham, after being tracked down via a DNA match. Issue date: Thursday November 18, 2021. PA Photo. Shakespeare, 66, grabbed the 18-year-old girl as she was walking her dog. He had armed himself with a sharpened stick with a nail driven through it, and forced the victim into nearby undergrowth where he raped her. See PA story POLICE Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Gloucestershire Constabulary/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
(Credits: PA)

A full DNA sample was recovered at the time but Shakespeare was never traced.

Despite renewed appeals for information in 2007 and 2008, he was only tracked down when he was arrested for possession of a knife earlier this year.

When detectives got a hit on the DNA, Shakespeare was re-arrested on August 15.

He pleaded guilty to rape and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday.

Detective Constable Simone Bow,ley said: ‘Firstly I would like to commend the victim as her bravery and courage has been phenomenal right from the day this horrific crime took place, through to present day.

‘She has had to wait for more than 30 years for Shakespeare to admit his abhorrent crimes.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by Gloucestershire Constabulary of a sharpened stick with a nail driven through it used by Paul Shakespeare, who has admitted raping a teenager more than 30 years ago in Cheltenham, after being tracked down via a DNA match. Issue date: Thursday November 18, 2021. PA Photo. Shakespeare, 66, grabbed the 18-year-old girl as she was walking her dog. He had armed himself with a sharpened stick with a nail driven through it, and forced the victim into nearby undergrowth where he raped her. See PA story POLICE Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Gloucestershire Constabulary/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
(Picture: PA)
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by Gloucestershire Constabulary of a sharpened stick with a nail driven through it used by Paul Shakespeare, who has admitted raping a teenager more than 30 years ago in Cheltenham, after being tracked down via a DNA match. Issue date: Thursday November 18, 2021. PA Photo. Shakespeare, 66, grabbed the 18-year-old girl as she was walking her dog. He had armed himself with a sharpened stick with a nail driven through it, and forced the victim into nearby undergrowth where he raped her. See PA story POLICE Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Gloucestershire Constabulary/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
(Picture: PA)

‘The case has been reopened and reviewed over this time, and she has continued to work with us in the hope that one day he will be caught and brought to justice.’

DC Bowley continued: ‘The impact of this crime was felt within the wider community, too, as people were fearful (after) what took place that day.

‘We all had hope that we would be able to identify the man responsible for this, and I am glad that day has finally come.

‘I have updated the victim on today’s outcome and she was relieved to hear the news.’

Shakespeare was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on January 17 at Bristol Crown Court.

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