Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rapist Simon Murcott's jailing: Cold case police team success

The jailing of Simon Murcott for raping a Rotherham woman almost 26 years ago is the latest success for South Yorkshire Police's Cold Case Review Team.

DNA evidence that had been stored since 1985 was used to arrest Murcott in Merseyside last year.

No charges were brought during the original investigations of the attack by police.

Then, in 2008, detectives from the team began to re-examine the case, along with experts from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

After Murcott was given a life sentence earlier, Det Supt Richard Fewkes, who was in charge of setting up the cold-case team five years ago, said : "We are very satisfied with this result especially given the length of the investigation, it been two years since the arrest."

Murcott's was one of 12 cold cases successfully investigated by the Sheffield team.

The investigation had to be rebuilt from the original case details and inquiries carried out without causing more distress to the victim.

'Tenacious scientists'

Det Supt Fewkes hoped the result of the case would give the victim "some solace" as the attack had left her "absolutely devastated".

He also praised the "tenacious scientists" of the FSS and the teamwork of the CPS.

Det Supt Fewkes said that at the time of the initial investigation of the case DNA analysis was "almost unheard of" and used "very rarely".

But with scientific advances over the years, he said that sometimes such forensic work is "more discerning than a fingerprint."

He accepts though, that even with good DNA evidence there is still a lot of detailed investigation to be undertaken.

However, he warned criminals who think they have got away with a past crime, to think again.

"We don't forget these serious crimes, they are being reviewed," he said.

Files on unsolved crimes dating as far back as 1959 are expected to be reopened by the team, following the advances in DNA technology.

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