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


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.”


Other News Stories

29 minutes ago
Bideford Hospital.

Community hospital beds in South Molton, Holsworthy and Bideford all face the axe today - find out which what the healthcare trust’s board are being recommended here.

Read more
16 minutes ago

The Tarka line is experiencing signal problems this morning (Tuesday) causing delays.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:08

The funeral of well-known volunteer Doris Stevens-Munn will be held this week on Thursday, October 8.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:52
You can lead a horse to water.... Jessie the horse is pictured in the bar at The Poltimore Inn, North Molton, with landlord Alan Boddington. Picture: Submitted

No long faces as horse walks into North Molton’s Poltimore Inn for breakfast

Read more
Yesterday, 10:57

Tell us your favourite thing about North Devon by tweeting us using #WeAreNorthDevon.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:17

Fire fighters are currently at the scene of a large barn blaze in Combe Martin.

Read more
Sunday, October 4, 2015

Police investigate after man found dead at bottom of steep flight of steps onto beach near Ilfracombe.

Read more
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Captained by OC 22 Sqn Wg Cdr 'Sparky' Dunlop the crew landed safely after their training flight. Today marked the end of operational SAR coverage for the RAF in the UK. Image taken by Corporal Peter Devine,RAF Photographer from SAR Force HQ.

Brand new search and rescue base at St Athan means Chivenor’s 22 Squadron will no longer carry out rescues in North Devon.

Read more
Sunday, October 4, 2015

North Devon Council will be among those encouraging youngsters to take an interest in politics

Read more
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Sue Ashmole and Phil Alexander with alpaca and residents at Herons Lea.

Residents of Herons Lea enjoy the attentions of some cute long-necked visitors

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications