Knifepoint rapist brought to justice 30 years after ‘horrifying attacks’

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A rapist who attacked his teen victims at knifepoint 30 years ago has finally been brought to justice.

Herts Police’s Major Crime Unit brought 52-year-old Paul Drinkwater to trial for the historic offences, which took place in Berkhamsted in 1984.

Today he was found guilty of two counts of rape, two counts of robbery and indecent assault st St Albans Crown Court.

He was also charged with two counts of having an offensive weapon, and these matters will lie on file.

Drinkwater, who is currently of no fixed address in Maidenhead, carried out his horrific attacks by dragging young girls off the street.

The court heard how the first victim, a 15-year-old girl, was targeted on the evening of Sunday, November 25, 1984.

She was followed by a man wearing a balaclava who grabbed her from behind, raped her at knifepoint and stole from her.

Just three weeks later on December 15, a masked man approached two 18-year-old girls from behind. He was brandishing a knife and made threats to the victims before he raped and punched one of them and indecently assaulted the other, before again stealing property from them.

At the time of the horrific assaults, extensive investigations were carried out by police and appeals for information appeared on BBC Crimewatch.

Drinkwater, who was living in Berkhamsted at the time, was arrested in February 1985 but was released without charge due to insufficient evidence.

A review of the case began in April 2012 by the Major Crime Unit Cold Case Review Team and this – along with advances in DNA technology – led to him being re-arrested and subsequently charged.

Det Insp Pushpa Guild from the Major Crime Unit, who led the investigation, said: “The victims of these truly horrifying attacks have today seen justice.

“I would like to thank all of them for bravery and courage in supporting the prosecution, which has helped to secure this conviction.

“I am sure that Paul Drinkwater thought he would never face justice but thanks to the work of the Cold Case Review team and subsequent inquiries by my team we were able to arrest and charge him.

“Cases such as these, where no charges are brought initially, are never closed and I would like to reassure victims that we will regularly review such investigations and apply any new or advanced forensic techniques available to us now when possible.”

He will be sentenced on January 30.