Police arrest alleged Adelaide rapist 34 years after crime thanks to new DNA technology

How DNA technology helped cops find an accused rapist 34 years after he allegedly dragged a woman to a car at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her

  • New DNA technologies have warmed up a 34-year-old sexual assault cold case
  • Police claim the women was sexually assaulted in August 1988 in west Adelaide
  • A 62-year-old man has been charged and bailed and will appear in court in 2023 
  • The new technologies gives SAPOL ‘increased opportunities to identify people’
  • The AFP has spent the past year increasing forensic capabilities to solve cases

New DNA technologies have helped South Australian Police arrest a man more than 30 years after he allegedly raped a woman at knifepoint.

Police allege the man, now aged 62, sexually assaulted the woman back in August 1988 as she jogged through Croydon, in Adelaide‘s west.

The woman was allegedly threatened with a knife before being forced into a car and sexually assaulted. 

She managed to escape the car and got help from a member of the public, with the police investigation collecting all necessary samples. 

The North Adelaide man, who was 27 at the time, was arrested on Friday with police revealing on Monday it was the modernisation of DNA technology that had helped cold case detectives make the arrest. 

Police allege that a women was jogging through Croydon (above) before being sexually assaulted by a man in a car in August 1988

Police allege that a women was jogging through Croydon (above) before being sexually assaulted by a man in a car in August 1988

South Australia Police Detective Chief Inspector Richard Lambert said the technology was helping police close cold cases.

‘DNA technology has provided police with increased opportunities to identify people who are (allegedly) responsible for committing all types of crimes,’ he said.

‘This investigation demonstrates SAPOL’s commitment to pursue those (allegedly) responsible for committing sexual assaults, including those that (allegedly) occurred many years ago.

‘The impact of these types of (alleged) crimes have on their victims is everlasting.

‘While DNA technology continues to advance, SAPOL will also continue its resolve to make (alleged) violent sexual offenders accountable for their crimes.’

The man was charged with rape and was bailed to appear at Port Adelaide Magistrates Court early next year. 

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Lambert (above) said the new technologies that led to the arrest will also 'provide police with increased opportunities to identify people'

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Lambert (above) said the new technologies that led to the arrest will also ‘provide police with increased opportunities to identify people’

The man’s arrest comes almost a year after the Australian Federal Police announced it would be using a separate kind of DNA technology they hope will ‘open a new world of forensic DNA testing for criminal investigation’.

The new technology, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS), can provide physical predictions from DNA left at crime scenes.

The sequencing allows police to predict gender, biogeographical ancestry and eye colour with future capabilities including age, height, hair colour and facial features such as lip fullness.

In October of this year, the AFP also announced its partnership with Othram, a forensic genomics laboratory that, over the past three years, has helped the United States and Canada solve decades-old cold cases.

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