Attacker caught by DNA three decades after brutal assault has jail term upped

Raymond Ellis jailed for 5 years after sexually assaulting teenager
Raymond Ellis chased his 17-year-old victim before dragging her along a passageway, tying her up and attacking her. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A Bristol man who followed a teenage girl home before dragging her into an alleyway and indecently assaulting her has had his jail term increased.

Raymond Ellis was jailed more than three decades after he carried out "the most serious example of indecent assault" on a teenager in Sheffield in March 1987.

He chased his 17-year-old victim before dragging her along a passageway, tying her up and attacking her.

At one point during the incident, she asked him if he was going to kill her. She says the attack ruined her chances in life.

Ellis, now aged 63 and of Eastville in Bristol, was sentenced to five years in prison over the attack at Bristol Crown Court in May 2022.

Following a hearing at the Court of Appeal today (29 July), his sentence was quashed and he will now serve seven and a half years in prison after an appeal by the Attorney General argued the original punishment had been unduly lenient.

The appeal court said his original sentence could have been worked out from a starting point of 10 years imprisonment with a reduction for his guilty plea, rather than from nine years and four months with discounts which brought it down to five years.

Lady Justice Carr said "the conduct here was at the very highest level" for an indecent assault as it was a sustained attack involving both the use and threat of violence.

There was also the use of a weapon, physical injury, restraint, the targeting of a lone victim late at night who was dragged down an alleyway.

All this was carried out while Ellis, who had previously attacked another girl in an alleyway, was out on probation for a burglary offence in 1986.

Ellis' victim had been at the pub with friends and decided to walk home but Ellis followed her.

She quickened her pace after realising that Ellis was following her but he "matched it".

The teenager began to run but lost her shoe and Ellis used it to hit her in the face and loosened her tooth.

During the attack, the frightened teenager asked Ellis if he was going to kill her.

She also told him she was just 15 years old, "hoping this would change his mind", the court heard.

The "frightened" victim was still tied up when Ellis fled after the assault.

She managed to get to the telephone box and alert the police, who at the time were unable to identify her attacker – but a semen stain had been left on her jacket.

DNA breakthroughs meant that decades later police were able to track Ellis down and make a forensic match to the jacket stain.

Ellis, who was living in a care home, said he could not remember his crime as he had a brain injury but pleaded guilty after the DNA evidence was revealed.

The victim says the attack had "ruined her chances in life" and she is "now a shell of herself", the court heard.

According to her victim impact statement her career prospects have been hit, she is on anti-depressants and she sleeps badly.

Ellis has a schizoaffective mental health disorder but there is nothing to suggest this can not be managed with medication in prison.