Life sentence for ‘most dangerous rapist’ caught 32 years on

A cold case review by three police forces has helped snare a rapist described as “one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK” for a crime committed more than 30 years ago.

Dec 12, 2017

A cold case review by three police forces has helped snare a rapist described as “one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK” for a crime committed more than 30 years ago. Ian Harper violently raped a mother in her 30s after breaking into her home wearing a balaclava, demanding money and holding a screwdriver to her throat. The 57-year-old carried out the 1985 attack while the woman was waiting for her children to return from school. Harper, who is also known as Ian Harrison, was the first person charged under Operation Painter, which was set up last year to review unsolved sexual offences by forces in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire between 1974 and 1999. In January, his DNA was found to match a profile held in the National Forensic Archive. Last week Harper admitted rape, burglary and indecent assault at Peterborough Crown Court. He is already serving a jail sentence for a series of rapes and burglaries in Hertfordshire in 1994. He was given a life sentence for rape and 12 months to run concurrently for burglary and indecent assault. Detective Inspector Alan Page said Harper was an “evil man” – and “one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK”. He added: “To secure a further prison term against him will mean our communities are protected from him committing further offences. “The attack on this victim was horrendous and has had an unimaginable impact on her and her family. I hope the sentence will be of some small comfort to them 32 years on.” A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police told Police Professional: This was the first charge and sentence under Operation Painter. He was arrested as a result of the review of the file as part of the operation.”

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