Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Bideford man jailed for 1980 rape

11:16 27 September 2012

Grant Thorowgood was jailed for nine years

Grant Thorowgood was jailed for nine years

Archant

DNA evidence linked Bideford man to rape in Slough after case was reopened in 2010.

A BIDEFORD man has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of raping a woman in Berkshire in 1980.

A jury was told Grant Thorowgood, 53, of Rowe Close, Bideford, attacked Josephine Edwards at her home in Slough while her two-year-old daughter slept upstairs.

Thorowgood denied the rape, but was found guilty by a majority jury verdict of 11 to one, after a week-long trial at Reading Crown Court that ended yesterday (Wednesday).

The victim, who was 32 at the time of the attack, died in 1998, aged 49.

The court heard that Ms Edwards was waiting at home for a serviceman to call back when she saw a man pass her front window and opened the door, assuming it was the serviceman.

Thorowgood, 21 at the time, forced his way into the victim’s home and demanded money.

She offered him a gold bracelet before running for the phone, but Thorowgood pushed her backwards onto the floor where he raped her before demanding she go upstairs.

He threatened to kill her if she raised the alarm.

During the initial investigation, no one was arrested or charged. But the case was re-opened by Thames Valley Police’s major crime review team (MCRT) in 2010.

Thorowgood was arrested and charged in Bideford in April 2012, after significant forensic evidence on an item of the victim’s clothing produced a DNA link to him.

Pete Beirne, principal investigator from the MCRT, said after the hearing: “The victim was subjected to an extremely traumatic ordeal by Thorowgood, who brazenly forced his way into her home in broad daylight.

“Tragically the victim died 14 years ago and never saw her attacker brought to justice, however, the statement she compiled at the time was a key piece of evidence during the trial and undoubtedly helped the jury convict Thorowgood.

“The victim’s family have fully supported our re-investigation and the subsequent trial and I would like to pay tribute to their bravery and courage. I hope they can find some form of peace following today’s hearing.”

Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said afterwards: “In this case the victim did not have to endure the ordeal of giving evidence in court, but she gave her evidence from the grave as the statement she gave in 1980 was read to the court.

“This case sends a very clear message to anyone who thinks that they have escaped justice for similar offences that our determination to ensure that justice is done remains undimmed, even years after offences are committed.”

“I hope that today’s outcome gives some sense of closure to the victim’s family, so that they can now put this unpleasant episode behind them and move on with their lives with the knowledge that the person who subjected Josephine to this terrible ordeal has been brought to justice. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

The victim’s family released the following statement in response to the sentencing: “Justice has triumphed today.

“We are so happy that finally after all these years the man that committed this heinous crime is being punished and we as a family can finally have closure and move on.

“We would like to thank Thames Valley Police and everyone who has supported us through this difficult time.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:33
Dave Butt, pictured during the Pilton Festival, was a staunch community champion. Picture: Barbara Fryer Photography

Hundreds pack Barnstaple Parish Church to bid farewell to community champion

Read more
Yesterday, 18:15
Stowford Farm Meadows

Will Stowford Farm Meadows be crowned the king of sites in the Great British Park off?

Read more
Yesterday, 15:59

Firefighters from Barnstaple were called after reports of a smell of smoke and a fire alarm sounding.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:42

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is letting people behind the scenes ahead of one of their busiest weekends.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:24
Councillor Sue Hayward and town clerk Will Austin outside Barnstaple Guildhall

Barnstaple Town Council has big plans for the Guildhall, but the historic building needs a bit of sprucing up first.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:58
Chicken hen.

Hen evades rescue attempts but appears content in adopted A39 lay-by home

Read more
Thu, 18:06
North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple

700-word response says there are ‘no red lines’ to reviewing services but ‘will not add to speculation’

Read more
Thu, 16:46

One lane of the A361 from Braunton to Barnstaple is currently closed following the single vehicle collision today (Thursday).

Read more
Thu, 15:00
Paul Crabb, the 2016-17 Mayor of Ilfracombe

The Gazette caught up with Councillor Paul Crabb for his views on what will happen in the coming year

Read more
Thu, 13:52
Coco is our Cat of the Week

With Barnstaple and District Cats Protection

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications