Serial rapist who was already behind bars sentenced to 19 years for raping 14-year-old in Bedford

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A serial rapist who was already behind bars has been sentenced to 19 years after new forensic techniques linked him to an attack on a 14-year-old in 2006.

Donald Kargbo-Reffell raped his 14-year-old victim in Bedford in March 2006. But while he was arrested at the time, forensic techniques back then meant there was not enough evidence to charge him.

But the case was reopened as part of Operation Painter – run by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit – to look into past sex offences using new technology and forensic testing.

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The new techniques were able to prove he was behind the rape and he was found guilty at Luton Crown Court in February.

Donald Kargbo-ReffellDonald Kargbo-Reffell
Donald Kargbo-Reffell

Kargbo-Reffell, who was 37 at the time of the offence, is already serving a 12-year sentence for another rape he committed in Bedford in 1999 – which was also solved using improved scientific techniques.

DNA samples had been recovered but, at the time, it was not possible to identify the offender. But when the case was reviewed using the new techniques, Kargbo-Reffell was convicted. He was jailed in 2018.

In the current case, Kargbo-Reffell convinced the victim to go with him to a friend’s flat. He plied her with alcohol before raping her.

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Yesterday (Thursday) Kargbo-Reffell, 55, was sentenced to 19 years in prison. He is liable to be deported at the end of his sentence, was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life and is banned from making contact with any child under the age of 18.

The victim of the attack was praised for her courage by the judge. In a statement to the court she had said: “His actions have had a massive impact on my life, he has destroyed my mental and physical health.

“Destroying my reputation, the trust I have in other people, relations with family members and partners, stealing the last part of my childhood which I should have been allowed to enjoy as a young teenager, turning into an adult.”

Detective Superintendent Emma Pitts, head of Public Protection at Bedfordshire Police said: “I am delighted that Kargbo-Reffell has been sentenced for this predatory and calculated attack.

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“He knew exactly what he was doing, targeting a vulnerable girl and believing that he had got away with it.

“The way we respond has really progressed in the time since this attack both in terms of improved technology and how we approach this sort of sexual abuse.

“No one deserves to suffer, and I hope this case demonstrates that we will leave no stone unturned in seeking justice for victims.

“I hope it sends a message that we will always continue to support victims, and that when you are ready to report, we are here for you.”