A man has been sentenced to a total of 12 years in jail after pleading guilty to a rape he committed more than 30 years ago in Beckenham.
Peter Hall, 58, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the rape at Snarebrook Crown Court earlier this year in January and was sentenced at the same court on April 12.
Hall carried out the attack in Beckenham on October 12, 1986. A 19-year-old woman was walking along Worsley Bridge Road after a night out at the cinema when Hall grabbed her from behind.
He held a knife to her throat and forced her to walk to a secluded area before raping her. After the attack, Hall left the scene and the woman ran home to raise the alarm.
An investigation was launched by police but, despite extensive enquiries, no suspect could be identified. However, clothing which contained DNA samples were recovered from the scene and stored which would ultimately prove crucial to the conclusion of the case.
In 2004, Hall – then using the alias Carl Oates – was arrested in connection with outstanding burglary offences at Stansted Airport. As part of that arrest his DNA was taken and uploaded to the National DNA database.
A routine cold case review of the rape case was undertaken in 2011. Part of this consisted of re-testing the DNA samples available, using technology that had advanced over the course of time.
Scientists established there was a match probability of one in 1 billion between DNA from Hall in 2004 and the DNA from semen found at the scene of the rape.
A warrant was issued for Hall’s arrest and in 2016 it emerged he had been arrested in Belgium for theft offences. A European Arrest Warrant was issued and Hall was extradited back to London in December 2018. He initially denied any involvement in the rape but due to the weight of evidence against him he ended up admitted to the offence at court.
DC Bhulesh Pala from the Met’s child abuse and sexual offences command (Complex Case Team), said: “This was a dreadful attack on a young woman simply making her way home from the cinema.
“Hall grabbed her from behind and forced at knifepoint into a grassy area before subjecting her to a terrifying sexual assault.
“I would like to pay tribute to the victim who was incredibly patient and courageous throughout an investigation which spanned over 30 years. I hope today’s sentencing gives her some measure of comfort and closure.
“I also hope this case gives other victims of rape and sexual offences the confidence to report such crimes to the police. Although this offence took place 32 years ago, this case demonstrates that we are committed to bringing offenders to justice, irrespective of how much time has passed since the crime was committed.”
Hall was also sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently to the rape sentence, for three burglaries he carried out in Doncaster in 2003.