Double jeopardy case: Wendell Baker jailed for pensioner rape

Wendell Baker was jailed after a judge ruled he should be found not guilty at his first trial, in 1999

Related Stories

A man convicted under the amended double jeopardy law of raping a pensioner has been jailed for life.

Wendell Baker, 56, beat and raped 66-year-old Hazel Backwell before locking her in a cupboard at her home in Stratford, east London, in 1997.

Baker was found not guilty in 1999 when a judge wrongly ruled his trial could not proceed. Changes to the law in 2005 meant he could be retried.

He has been ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years and six months.

Ms Backwell suffered a "terrifying ordeal" and thought she was going to die at the hands of Baker, who broke into her home and attacked her, the Old Bailey heard.

'Beaten black and blue'

He tied her hands behind her back with flex and beat and raped her. He then proceeded to ransack her house before leaving her bound and trapped in a cupboard.

A "terrified" Ms Backwell was found by chance by a neighbour the following evening.


Wendell Baker almost got away with it.

Had it not been for a court order compelling his defence solicitors to hand over copies of the case papers after the police had inexplicably lost theirs, a retrial would not have been possible.

Baker had escaped justice in 1999 because of another blunder: a judge wrongly ruled that the key - and virtually only - evidence against him, from DNA samples, was inadmissible.

The decision, corrected by the Law Lords, led Labour to introduce sweeping new powers ensuring DNA profiles from people cleared of crimes could be retained, measures which the Coalition Government has now watered down.

Baker, from Walthamstow, was acquitted of raping Ms Backwell, who died in 2002, when the first trial judge ruled DNA evidence had not been collected correctly and could not be used.

The Law Lords later overturned the judge's ruling, although as the law stood Baker could not be tried a second time for the same crime.

But after the law was amended it was possible for him to be tried again. Jurors heard a DNA match was found "in the order of one in a billion" linking him to the case.

Sentencing Baker at the Old Bailey, Judge Peter Rook said: "It seems to me it's difficult to find a case of more serious rape during the course of a burglary, short of where the victim is either killed or caused very serious harm.

"This was a particularly grave case of the rape of a woman in her own bedroom, you having broken into her home at night. Up until then she had always felt safe and secure in her home.

"This was a planned offence to steal money. When you could not find any, you decided to punish her with a brutal and vicious attack and by raping her."

The victim was beaten "black and blue" and "her face was unrecognisable even to her own son who only recognised her by her voice," the judge told the court.

'Raped a second time'

A statement on behalf of Ms Backwell's son David and her family said the "depraved attack" had "completely ruined her life".

It added: "She survived the attack and was able to give a detailed account of what Wendell Baker put her through but her life was never the same again.

Hazel Backwell Hazel Backwell said she thought she was "going to die" during the attack

"My mother sadly passed away lonely, with a broken heart and a shadow of her former self and was never able to see the man who caused her so much pain jailed for what he did.

"My mother felt as if she had been raped a second time when Wendell Baker was first acquitted.

"My mother suffered and it saddens me that she is not here to witness this momentous day.

"Today is a good day for our family but it will always be tinged with sadness."

Following the sentence, Det Ch Insp Christopher Burgess said: "Wendell Baker mistakenly believed that he had got away with this horrific crime back in 1997 but the Special Casework Investigations Team has worked tirelessly to ensure that he will now spend a considerable amount of time in jail for the crime he has committed."

More on This Story

Related Stories

BBC London



Min. Night 9 °C

BBC Local Live

    Have a good weekend 18:00:

    That's all for the BBC London live page today. We're back on Monday at 08:00 with more news, travel, weather and sport updates for London. Have a good weekend.

    Dry night 17:58:

    Any remaining cloud and rain will soon clear south-eastwards, giving way to a dry night with some clear spells.

    It will be a cool end to the night with south-westerly winds remaining light, allowing some patchy fog to form by dawn. This will be most likely towards the south of the City. Lows of 6C (43F).

    Watch: Painting blind 17:54:

    Sargy Mann from Peckham has been painting all of his professional life. In his mid-thirties he developed cataracts on both eyes, but has continued to paint and his work sells for upwards of £50,000.

    Sargy Mann's work

    He spoke to BBC News about his life and work.

    Coming Up 17:51: BBC London News TV

    At 18:30 on BBC One, an increase in the use of surveillance drones to film London landmarks; a coroner hears a mother poisoned herself and her two young daughters by drinking acid; and Sara Orchard tries out abseiling down the Olympic Park's Orbit Tower.

    Cycle app used in Hackney 17:47:

    Hackney Council has been using data collected from its free cycle app to learn more about cyclist trends, habits and needs in the borough, reports the Hackney Gazette.

    Romans had better teeth 17:44:

    Did you know people living in Roman Britain had healthier gums than their modern-day descendants?

    Roman soldier

    A team at King's College London and the Natural History Museum found only 5% of adults had gum disease in the Roman, and certainly pre-toothbrush, era.

    Things to do 17:38: Time Out London magazine

    It's Friday! Time Out's highlights this evening include Alan Partridge sidekick Tim Key at Bush Hall, Brooklyn trio The Antlers at Hackney Empire and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

    Half-term getaway 17:30: BBC London Travel

    Commiserations to you if you're stuck on the M25. Travel reporter Billy Reeves says delays are down to the knock-on effects of accidents and an earlier problem at the Dartford Tunnel.

    Severe delays

    Congestion is severe in Essex and Buckinghamshire anti-clockwise, and at Berkshire clockwise.

    London to host world athletics 17:27:

    London will replace Doha as the host of the 2015 IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships.

    Teen stabbed on bus 17:17:

    This picture from the crime scene at Rose Hill roundabout comes from the Sutton Guardian.

    The scene
    One Show invasion 17:04: Josephine McDermott BBC News Online

    A spitfire is parked outside the BBC London building we share with The One Show at New Broadcasting House.


    Find out why on the The One Show at 19:00. This evening it includes Boris Johnson talking about his hero Sir Winston Churchill.

    Bus routes affected 16:56:

    TfL Bus Alerts tweets: Routes 151, 154, 164 and 280 are subject to diversion and delays on Rose Hill, Sutton due to a Police incident.

    News on the hour 16:55:

    Our top story on BBC London 94.9 this hour is the stabbing of a 15-year-old boy on a bus in Sutton, south-west London.

    Stabbing update 16:51: Jonathan Savage BBC London 94.9

    A 15-year-old boy is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being stabbed on a bus in Sutton.

    Scotland Yard says he was attacked at about 14:30 while on a 151 bus near the Rosehill Roundabout.

    It is understood he managed to get off the bus before collapsing on the pavement. The police have not yet made any arrests.

    Last two BST sunsets 16:47:

    Sunset is at 17:49 today, 17:47 tomorrow and 16:45 on Sunday when the clocks will have changed.

    Family chemical death 16:37:

    A Met officer has said police were "overcome with fumes" when they were called to the home of Heena Solanki in Ruislip.

    Heena Solanki and her daughter Jasmine Heena Solanki and her daughter Jasmine

    In a statement her widower, Kalpesh Solanki, said: "Prior to her death I believed that Heena was happy and content. The only thing that I was aware of that made her unhappy was that we lived with my parents."

    Teen stabbed in Sutton 16:25:

    Sutton Guardian reports a teenager has been left with "life threatening injuries" after he was stabbed in broad daylight near the Rose Hill roundabout.

    Costa could start against Man Utd 16:19:

    Diego Costa could start Chelsea's Premier League showdown with Manchester United, despite a virus which required hospital treatment.

    Protest over patient treatment 16:09:

    A hospital accused of giving up on a man in intensive care has promised to bring in an independent expert to assess him.

    Marcus Campbell

    Marcus Campbell, 22, has a rare brain condition and is being treated at Croydon University Hospital in south London.

    His family says, against their wishes, the hospital will not resuscitate the father-of-two if his heart stops. They have organised a petition and protests outside the hospital.

    News on the hour 15:57: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin at 16:00 from Emma North includes:

    • Amputees could be able to re-grow missing limbs as part of pioneering research at Imperial College London.
    • Protesters trying to occupy Parliament Square returned last night to try to gain entry after being prevented from doing so earlier this week
    • CCTV images have been released after an attempted arson on a petrol station in Greenwich
    Chemicals death inquest 15:48:

    A mother poisoned herself and her daughters aged four and nine by drinking acid after struggling to get on with her live-in mother and father-in-law, West London Coroner's Court has heard.

    Prisha Solanki

    Biochemist Heena Solanki, 34, had taken the chemical from a locked cupboard at the school where she worked as a lab technician.

    Croydon Fire 15:40:

    TfL says the A212 Wellesley Road in Croydon has now reopened northbound but with police directing traffic past the scene. Residual delays remain.

    Fire in Croydon
    Clocks change 15:33:

    We finally get that extra hour in bed when the clocks go back this weekend!

    The clocks go back one hour at 02:00 on Sunday, meaning the country will be on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), giving us light mornings and darker evenings.

    Factoid: Moving the clocks was first introduced during World War One by Germany and Austria to save on coal usage.

    Croydon Fire 15:24:

    The Croydon Guardian tweets this picture of the fire at Delta Point tower put out earlier.

    Croydon fire
    Feedback 15:20:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.

    Petrol station fire 15:13: via Facebook

    On the man seen starting a petrol fire, Elaine James writes: Thanks to a quick witted person who doused it... it could have been a major incident if he hadn't acted so quickly!

    John W Townsend writes: Do these people really exist? What a pointless life they must have.

    Watch: Man starts petrol fire 15:06:
    News on the hour 14:59: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin this hour includes:

    • Amputees could be able to re-grow missing limbs as part of pioneering research at Imperial College London.
    • Protestors trying to occupy Parliament Square returned last night to try to gain entry after being prevented from doing so earlier this week.
    Firefighters to strike 14:50:

    Firefighters in England are to strike for four days from October 31 in their row with the Government over pensions, the Fire Brigades Union announced today.

    Tower block fire 14:43:

    London Fire Brigade tweets: The fire at the disused office in #Croydon is now under control. 10 people left the building before the arrival of the Brigade.

    Hammer Carroll nears return 14:38:

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce says the club's record signing Andy Carroll could return in "two to three weeks".

    West Ham's turnaround 14:27: Robbie Savage BBC football pundit

    When I spoke about West Ham on Match of the Day after they beat Crystal Palace at the end of August, I said how impressed I was with the way they were playing. Read more.

    The deception 14:16:

    Read more from Dominic Casciani on 'the undercover cop, his lover and their son'.

    Bob Lambert

    He reports both the policeman's children in his "non-undercover" life died from a rare genetic disorder. Until he was revealed in public and spoke to 'Jacqui', she did not know that her son could be facing the same risk.

    Tower block fire 14:06:

    The Croydon Guardian is publishing live updates with photos and video of a tower block fire.

    Six fire engines are tackling the blaze at Delta Point, former home of BT, in Wellesley Road.

    News on the hour 13:57:

    Coming up in the 14:00 bulletin on BBC London 94.9:

    CCTV images have been released of what appears to be an attempted arson on a petrol station in Greenwich.

    Drogba update 13:49:

    Chelsea FC tweets: Mourinho reports Didier Drogba has trained well this week but he does not know if he will start on Sunday. #CFC

    Croydon fire 13:39:

    A fire has broken out a disused tower block in Croydon town centre.

    Croydon Guardian reports a thick plume of black smoke and flames can be seen at the top of Delta Point, the former home of BT, in Wellesley Road.

    London Fire Brigade has tweeted part of the roof is alight.

    Gallows Corner works 13:36:

    London Mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed that work by TfL to improve the Gallows Corner junction will be completed in 18 months, reports the Romford Recorder.

    "Queeting" unlikely to be prolific 13:26: Peter Hunt Royal correspondent, BBC News

    Royal official: "it's a reasonable assumption that Her Majesty may not become the most prolific individual tweeter."

    The Queen at the Science Museum
    Dartford Tunnel shut 13:18:

    BBC London Travel tweets: The #Dartford Tunnel has been shut since 11:50ish -queues back towards J3. Xdnt at the tunn end {BR}

    Queen's first tweet 13:17: The Guardian

    asks how the Queen's first tweet measures up compared with others, including Stephen Fry and Barack Obama.

    Tiny home sells for £275k 13:09: The Daily Mail

    A former flower shop measuring just 188 sq ft in Islington has sold for £275,000, the Daily Mail reports.

    News on the hour 12:59: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The news bulletin at 13:00 includes:

    • A 26-year-old man suspected of intending to travel to Syria to fight has appeared before magistrates.
    • A woman who had a child with an undercover police officer and didn't learn who he really was for 25 years, is to receive more than £400,000 in compensation from Scotland Yard.
    Listen again 12:53: via Facebook

    Mark in Woodford tells Vanessa that he knew police killer Harry Roberts in prison and he is "a changed man".

    Coming Up 12:39: Alex Bushill BBC London News

    On the lunchtime news at 13:30, how amputees could be able to re-grow their missing limbs as part of pioneering research at Imperial College London. The 25-year, £60m programme, aims to explore the possibility of regenerating human tissue and eventually removing the need for prosthetic arms and legs. All that and a full weekend weather forecast.

    Fancy this? 12:27: Sara Orchard BBC London Sport

    Fancy abseiling down the Orbit on the Olympic Park? I did a test drive for you this morning, more on @BBCLondonNews

    Sara's abseil
    Listen: 'Expected to use sex' 12:18: BBC Radio 4

    Peter Francis worked in the now disbanded Special Demonstration Squad with Bob Lambert, who had a child with a woman he was secretly monitoring in the 1980s. He says officers were expected to have sexual relationships with people they were spying on.

    Information Age gallery 12:17: Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

    The Information Age gallery, opened by the Queen this morning, has been three years in the planning, and is one of the most ambitious projects the museum has ever undertaken.

    A technician checks the Web story box display at the Information Age gallery
    News on the hour 11:57: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin at 12:00 includes:

    • A woman who had a child with an undercover police officer and didn't learn who he really was for 25 years is to receive more than £400,000 in compensation from Scotland Yard.
    • The Met Police use surveillance powers more than any other force in the UK according to the pressure group Big Brother Watch.
    Royal tweet 11:50:

    The Science Museum tweets: .@BritishMonarchy We're honoured The Queen chose to open our Information Age gallery by sending her first tweet #smInfoAge #TheQueenTweets

    Queen's first tweet 11:44:

    The Queen has sent her first tweet on a visit to the Science Museum.

    Twitter feed
    'Chemicals' death inquest 11:42:

    The inquest into the deaths of Heena Solanki, 34, and her daughters Prisha, four, and Jasmine, nine, who were found dead at their family home in Ruislip, west London, is taking place this afternoon at West London Coroner's Court.

    The Solanki family
    Luxury flat construction blocked 11:35:

    Vice reports people in Barnet are blocking the construction of luxury flats.

    Terror suspect in court 11:27:

    Terror suspect, Tuhin Shanesha, 26, of Hudson Road in Southsea, Portsmouth, has been remanded in custody after appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, charged with preparing acts of terrorism.

    He was one of four people arrested as part of a number of warrants executed across Hampshire and London by officers from the South East Counter-Terrorism Unit last week.

    One CCTV camera earns TfL £1m 11:18:

    A CCTV camera overlooking a tiny stretch of a road in Swiss Cottage has led to motorists being fined almost £1m in penalty charges over the past year alone - and many could be due for a refund, a London cab driver has discovered.

    See the Ham & High for the full story.

    'Disorientated and destroyed' 11:05:

    'Jacqui' continues: "Precious memories and rites of passage that marked milestones in a woman's life have been corrupted and leave me feeling disorientated and destroyed.

    Bob Lambert

    "I don't know if he was paid overtime to be with me during the 14 hours of labour I went through giving birth to our son."

    News on the hour 10:55: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The headlines this hour include:

    • The Met Police use surveillance powers more than any other force in the UK according to the pressure group Big Brother Watch.
    • A woman who had a child with an undercover police officer and didn't learn who he really was for 25 years is to receive more than £400,000 in compensation from Scotland Yard.
    • Police investigating the disappearance of a man from King's Cross have found a body in the Thames near Vauxhall Bridge.
    'First true love' 10:48:

    'Jacqui' says: "My world fell apart on 14th June 2012 when after 24 years I discovered that my first true love, and the father of my first child was a police officer paid to spy on me and my friends."

    Robert Lambert
    Undercover victim 10:39: Matt Prodger Home affairs correspondent

    The statement from "Jacqui", whose child was fathered by a man who she did not know was an undercover police officer, is a tough read.

    Have your say 10:32:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to know what you think.

    Mistaken identity 10:27: Sonja Jessup Presenter, BBC London News

    tweets: Just been mistaken for a police officer at Isleworth Crown Court. I guess I'm among the few people not wearing a wig.

    MI5 wartime agent was bank clerk 10:23:

    A wartime MI5 agent who revealed a network of UK-based Nazi sympathisers, has been identified as a bank clerk from Surrey who worked in central London.

    MI5 agent Eric Roberts
    Body found in Thames 10:13:

    Officers investigating the disappearance of 29-year-old Richard MacKenzie have found a body. The police say it was found in the River Thames near Vauxhall Bridge on Wednesday and the death is being treated as non-suspicious.

    Queen to visit Science Museum 10:06:

    The Queen will be shown technological wonders from the past 200 years when she opens a major new gallery at the Science Museum later.

    The new attraction features more than 800 objects and explores how breakthroughs have transformed the way people have communicated since the early 19th century.

    News on the hour 09:55: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin this hour includes:

    • The lawyer representing a woman who had a child with an undercover police officer says Scotland Yard's apology and offer of more than £400,000 in compensation aren't enough.
    • Police investigating the disappearance of a man from King's Cross have found a body in the Thames near Vauxhall Bridge
    Piracy police given more money 09:42:

    More money is to be given to the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit.

    The division deals exclusively with investigating digital piracy and counterfeited goods.

    Lamela's wonder goal for Spurs 09:34:

    Mauricio Pochettino described Erik Lamela's wonder-strike during Tottenham's 5-1 win over Greek side Asteras Tripolis as "unbelievable".

    Erik Lamela
    Firework sparks mews fire 09:27: London Evening Standard Newspaper

    A stray firework narrowly missed a pedestrian before setting a £3 million South Kensington mews house on fire, reports the Evening Standard.

    Jones on Parliament Square 09:21:

    London Assembly Member Jenny Jones who was arrested in Parliament Square on Tuesday tweets: I'm very angry at what has happened to the #Occupy protesters:

    Term-time holiday turnaround 09:13: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    On now until 12:00, council leaders in England want to scrap the ban on parents taking their children on holiday during term-time.

    Last year, fines were brought in to reduce unauthorised absences from school but the Local Government Association says it should be down to head teachers to take a "common sense" approach on the issue. What do you think? Call Vanessa Feltz on 020 7224 2000.

    Watch: Weekend weather 09:08:
    News on the hour 08:58: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin at 09:00 from Matt Schofield includes:

    • Scotland Yard's paying more than £400,000 in compensation to an animal rights activist who had a child with an undercover officer in the 1980s.
    • The Met Police use surveillance powers more than any other force in the UK according to the pressure group Big Brother Watch.
    Undercover officers 08:54: BBC Radio 4

    Sex "was used by almost everybody" and you were "expected to engage in relationships" says former undercover officer Peter Francis on the Today programme.

    'May have burnt eyebrows' 08:50:

    Police say a man who started a fire at a petrol station in Greenwich "may have burnt his eyebrows as well as his hair".

    Anyone with information should call Det Con Buckwell at Greenwich CID on 020 8284 9416 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    as it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather from Fri 24 Oct
    • More updates from 08:00 on Monday
    • Listen to BBC London 94.9
    Watch: Man tries to start petrol fire 08:40:

    Police hoping to identify a man who started a fire at a petrol station, have released shocking CCTV images.

    CCTV image
    Apology over 'pain and suffering' 08:30:

    The woman, known only as Jacqui, told BBC News she had received psychiatric care after learning the officer's real identity.

    Father and child

    The force said it "unreservedly apologises for any pain and suffering".

    Payout over secret PC's child 08:24:

    The Metropolitan Police is to pay £425,000 to a woman whose child was fathered by a man who she did not know was an undercover police officer.

    Jacqui with her son Jacqui and her son: Spent years trying to work out where Bob the father had gone

    The unprecedented payment comes after a legal battle with women who say they were duped into relationships with officers who were spying on them.

    M25 fire 08:19: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    On the M25 there is queuing from J18 for Chorleywood to J16 for the M40 after a car caught fire earlier on.

    For the latest information news go to our travel page or on Twitter @BBCLondonTravel.

    Gipsy Hill closed 08:16: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    Gypsy Hill is closed between Gipsy Road and the Hollybush traffic lights for repairs after a sewer collapse.

    For the latest information news go to our travel page or on Twitter @BBCLondonTravel.

    Heavy rain, then drier 08:07:

    There will be periods of rain, some heavy, during the day. It will become drier and brighter later in the afternoon. Maximum temperature: 15C (59F).

    Weather chart
    08:00: Josephine McDermott BBC News Online

    I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather from across the capital today for BBC Local Live.

    You can also send your news, pictures and comments to or tweet @BBCLondonNews.



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BeesSweet medicine

    Why are sick bees being prescribed honey? BBC Earth investigates


  • The smartphone that answers backClick Watch

    Smartphones get smarter – the prototypes that talk and say ouch when you drop them

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.