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Suffolk/Norfolk: Scrap of DNA leads to conviction of rapist Peter Carroll nearly 18 years after he tried to strangle sex worker

17:25 09 June 2014

Peter Carroll, who was convicted of rape and attempted grievous bodily harm

Peter Carroll, who was convicted of rape and attempted grievous bodily harm

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A 55-year-old former Suffolk man has been convicted of raping a pregnant woman he attempted to strangle in Norwich 18 years ago.

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Advances in forensic science led to the capture of Peter Carroll, previously of Beccles, but now of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

He was tracked down by officers from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team as a result of an unsolved case review.

Carroll attacked a 20-year-old prostitute, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on July 20, 1996.

A jury at Norwich Crown Court found Carroll guilty of rape. They were unable to reach a majority verdict on a charge of attempted murder but found him guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.

Carroll had taken the victim, who he had met earlier, to the White Horse Lane area of Trowse where he raped, 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.

Detective Inspector Marie James said: “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.”

The victim 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 last year following the launch of an unsolved case review and advances in technology, a full DNA profile was obtained resulting in a match to Carroll.

Carroll was arrested at his home in Buckinghamshire on December 18.

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

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 more than 17 years.

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

Carroll will be sentenced on July 11.

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