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article imageFree For Four Years - A Vicious Rapist Gets Life After Police Admit DNA Blunder

By Michelle Duffy     Oct 15, 2007 in Crime
In one of the greatest UK police blunders in recent years, a dangerous rapist has finally seen the other side of the prison bars after he has spent the last four years walking around as a free man. Today, he received life for his crimes
It is a story we wish never to hear - the day when the police let the community down, and in particular, girls and young women at their most vulnerable. Yet this is the story of a rapist, guilty of a series of attacks on young females who has been walking the streets a free man for the last four years, and why? Because the police made a mistake on the DNA evidence - the evidence which should have convicted him all those years ago.
According to Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Paine, the DNA samples which were taken from Campbell at the time of the charges put to him four years ago, the samples were never processed, meaning Campbell could not be prosecuted. The court at Chichester was told today how it was the police investigation department who had failed both the justice system and the safety of the public.
At the time of the DNA sample error, Campbell had only been charged with a "peeping tom" offence. Due to this charge, his DNA sample was never sent off for processing.
Mark Campbell, a 38 year old welder from Grenville Gardens, Donnington, Chichester, in the south of England, has been finally charged and convicted at Chichester Crown Court this week.
His crimes had been vicious and frightening. Denying them still to the court today, he was found guilty on three counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of indecent assault, not to mention two counts of breaking and entering, which took place in the West Sussex area of the UK between the years of 1998 and 2004. He was cleared of two more charges and has been told that he must serve at least 12 years.
Ms Christine Laing, the prosecutor, said of the case,
"Where it does impact, however is in the delay in bringing his matter to trial and the effect that has on the recollection of everyone involved."
Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Paine found he had admit that there had been some serious flaws in the DNA part of the investigation. He said after the trail,
"There are no excuses. Having taken this particular sample, we didn't send it off for processing. That had consequences in that Campbell was at large for four years longer than he should have been. It should not have happened and we are very sorry that it did. We have done everything we can to learn the lessons so that nothing like it can happen again."
One of his victims who was falsely imprisoned and who was only 12 at the time of her ordeal, now 19 years old, said of her life now which she still is coming to terms with,
"If I have a good time, I totally forget about it but sometimes it comes back to me and scares me."
Perhaps more shockingly, a statement in court to the convicted Campbell in court, by Judge William Wood QC revealed that the rapist was a married man. The Judge said,
"It is difficult to exaggerate the degree of harm done. In each case the victim has been profoundly affected by the trauma. It is not the case that you are some sad and lonely man with no roots or home to go to and of who it might be said that he could have been unaware of the consequences to a woman. You must have know what it meant to these women. The culpability in my judgment is extreme because you have a wife at home.
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