Essex

'Early bird rapist' Christopher Clark admits 1985 attack

Clockhouse Lane, North Stifford Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The woman was walking along Clockhouse Lane, North Stifford, when she was attacked in 1985

A convicted sex offender, known as the Early Bird Rapist, has admitted a knifepoint farmyard rape from 1985 following a fresh DNA match.

Christopher Clark attacked the then 18-year-old in Thurrock, Essex, on her way to work but was not traced at the time.

Clark was jailed for life in 1997 for a sex offence in Bristol and, after advancements in DNA technology, police linked him to the Essex crime.

The 68-year-old pleaded guilty to rape at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday.

Clark, of HMP Lincoln, will be sentenced at the same court on 3 September.

'Horrifying ordeal'

On 17 September 1985 the woman was walking along Clockhouse Lane, North Stifford, when she was threatened with a knife by Clark, who dragged her into a yard and raped her.

DNA was gathered at the time but it was not until a cold case review in 2017 that Clark was linked to the crime.

Clark, who gained notoriety for a string of knifepoint sex attacks on women in the 1980s, was arrested and charged in January while in prison, where he remains awaiting sentencing.

Det Ch Insp Stephen Jennings said: "More than 32 years after she was subjected to a horrifying ordeal, Clark's victim will now finally have justice.

"Nothing can ever change what happened to her that day when she was just a teenager - rape is an offence that has a lifelong lasting impact on victims.

"But now at least she can take some small comfort from the fact that Clark will finally face justice for the heinous crime he subjected her to that day."

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