“Depraved” rapist given additional sentence after DNA evidence review helps convict him of another rape in Bedfordshire 20 years ago

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A convicted rapist has been jailed for a further 13 years, after being found guilty of raping another boy more than 20 years ago.

James Devlin, 55, was found guilty of the 1995 rape of a 15-year-old boy in Shortstown, near Bedford, after DNA evidence in a cold case review was matched to him.

Devlin's 1995 e-fit

Devlin's 1995 e-fit

Devlin was nearing the end of a prison sentence for raping a 16-year-old boy, but was given the additional sentence on Tuesday (May 7).

The court heard how, on Monday, October 16, 1995, at around 3.15pm, Devlin approached his victim as he waited at a bus stop.

He asked the boy if he had the correct time, and then asked for help to start his car, promising him a lift back to the bus stop afterwards. The boy agreed and followed Devlin to where he said the car was located.

Once the pair had passed through a hedge, Devlin grabbed his victim and hit him, and threatened him further if he continued to struggle before raping him.

Forensic evidence recovered at the time did not match with an offender, but Devlin’s DNA profile was eventually traced as part of work carried out under Operation Painter, a review of undetected rapes and sexual offences which occurred between 1974 and 1999.

The operation, by the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, began in 2016 and has reviewed over 1,600 cases to date.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Page, who investigated the case, said: “We cannot underestimate the impact of Devlin’s actions upon his young victim. He has lived with this for over two decades, and we are pleased we have now been able to solve this despicable crime that has haunted him.

“Devlin is now going to spend further time in jail, safely behind bars, and this should give him time to reflect upon his depraved behaviour.

“The sentence demonstrates that no matter how long since a sexual offence occurred, we will take every report seriously and work to ensure those responsible face the consequences.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Lay, who heads up Operation Painter, said: “Devlin inflicted a horrific ordeal on his young victim and went unpunished for so long. We will never undervalue the gravity of this case, and the length of time that has passed does not diminish the severity of the trauma for his victim.

“Now Devlin will remain in prison for a further 13 years where he can no longer prey upon victims.

“This is the fourth successful conviction under Operation Painter and it is with thanks to scientific advancement, and the endeavour of the Op Painter team, together with our partners in forensic science, that we can now review cases dating back decades.

“We welcome today’s sentence as a further example of the painstaking and tenacious work undertaken in revisiting those past cases. Evil predators have been and will continue to be brought to justice, and we can finally offer a form of closure for their victims.”

Victims of rape and sexual assault can receive support and guidance from Bedfordshire Police and partner agencies including the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), as well as support through the criminal investigation process.

Reports can be made to police on 101. You can also contact SARC through the Emerald Centre, by visiting www.emeraldcentre.org, emailing info@emeraldcentre.org or calling 01234 897052.

Call police on 101, or report your concerns via our online reporting tool.

Always call 999 in an emergency.