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  1. ITV Report

Man jailed for 15 years for rape dating back nearly 18 years

Peter Carroll. Photo: Norfolk Police

A 56-year-old man has been jailed for 15 years after being convicted of the rape of a pregnant woman in Norwich nearly 18 years ago.

Peter John Carroll of Barnsbury Avenue, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Friday 8 August after previously being found guilty of rape.

Carroll had also been found guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent following the trial in June when the jury failed to reach a majority verdict on a charge of attempted murder.

Carroll attacked the 20-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, during the evening of Saturday 20 July 1996.

He was tracked down by police as a result of an unsolved case review.

Carroll had taken the victim, who he had met earlier, to the White Horse Lane area of Trowse where he raped, brutally attacked and attempted to strangle her in his car.

Despite her being four-months pregnant at the time of the attack, Carroll left the victim unconscious before driving away from the scene. The victim eventually managed to flag down a passing car and was taken to a police station in Norwich.

"This was a violent attack on a woman who was left with serious injuries to her head, neck and body.

"During the attack the victim fought back and in the process scratched Carroll’s face which was to prove crucial to this conviction.”

– Detective Inspector Marie James of the Joint MIT

The victim, who worked as a prostitute at the time, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she underwent a forensic examination and swabs and fingernail clippings were seized.

At the time it was not possible to extract a DNA profile from the samples however they were retained.

In September 2013, following the launch of an unsolved case review - named Operation Hugo - and advances in technology, a full DNA profile was obtained resulting in a match to Carroll.

Carroll was arrested by detectives from the Joint MIT at his home in Buckinghamshire during the afternoon of Wednesday 18 December 2013.

During police interviews he denied all responsibility for the attack despite the forensic evidence. He did admit visiting Norwich on occasions in his role as an engineer for an electrical goods company.

On Thursday 19 December 2013 Carroll was subsequently charged with attempted murder and rape.

Detective Inspector James, added: "We hope that such a case proves how crucial forensic evidence can help secure a successful conviction no matter how long ago the offence took place.

"This was a horrific assault on a woman who has had to live with the consequences for nearly 18 years.

"It has taken an enormous amount of courage for the victim to stand up in court and give evidence and we would like to commend her for the bravery she has shown.

"Such a case also shows the passing of time should not stand in the way of justice for victims who can be reassured we will do all we can to bring offenders before the courts.”