Kent

Driving instructor Martin Eke jailed for rape

Martin Eke
Image caption Martin Eke was convicted after DNA taken in 2005 was linked to the rape

A driving instructor has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of raping a 21-year-old woman in Kent more than 25 years ago.

Martin Eke, of St Mary's Road in Tonbridge, was convicted after the crime was reinvestigated by detectives working on cold case reviews.

Canterbury Crown Court heard Jacqueline Spriddell was raped in October 1986 as she walked home in Folkestone.

Eke, 46, who had denied rape, was arrested last year.

DNA taken from him when he was arrested in 2005 for attacking his then partner linked him to the rape.

'Cruel and pitiless'

The court heard that Ms Spriddell was a popular woman, was slight in build and was suffering from kidney failure, for which she underwent dialysis twice a week.

She had also undergone a kidney transplant and lost the sight in her right eye.

Eke was 20 at the time of the attack and living in Folkestone away from his wife.

Ms Spriddell was raped as she walked home alone past wasteland close to Folkestone West railway station following a night out with friends.

Image caption Jacqueline Spriddell suffered from kidney failure and was blind in one eye

Eke fled the town afterwards as police issued a photofit of the attacker which closely resembled him.

Judge Adele Williams said Eke was responsible for a "cruel, degrading and pitiless" crime.

"You laid in wait for her and then pulled her through bushes on to some waste ground.

"You carried her further away from the road and you threatened to beat her to a pulp and threatened to kill her," she told him.

The family of Ms Spriddell, who was 22 at the time of the attack, said in a statement: "We are very pleased with the result.

"It comes as an immense relief and at last there is justice for Jacqueline."

Det Ch Insp Rob Vinson, from Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate cold case team, said: "It is tragic that Jacqueline never got to see Eke convicted... Eke showed no remorse during the trial.

"In fact he tried to blacken her character during his defence but the jury saw through his lies."

Eke will serve half his sentence behind bars and the remainder on licence.

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