Man jailed over 1986 sex attack
A rapist acquitted of a "devastating" sex attack more than 25 years ago has finally been jailed following the discovery of conclusive DNA evidence.
Alexander McGuire, 61, escaped justice for a quarter of a century after he was wrongly found innocent when he stood trial.
Forensic evidence gathered during his victim's original medical examination was re-examined using new techniques and revealed a DNA profile which matched McGuire's. He pleaded guilty to the 1986 rape in March after detectives concluded the likelihood they had got the wrong man was one in a billion.
He was handed an eight-year prison term at Reading Crown Court. He will serve half this time behind bars, minus the number of days he has already spent in custody.
The court heard that McGuire pounced on married mother-of-three Joy Smith while she was at work at a branch of McDonald's in November 1986. Mrs Smith, who has waived her right to anonymity, was on a late shift and went down to the restaurant's lower area to use the toilet at around 9pm. As she emerged from the cubicle, she was confronted by McGuire who told her he had a knife, pushed her back through the door and raped her.
He was arrested some months after the attack in Windsor, Berkshire, charged and tried but found not guilty on the orders of the judge. The verdict came despite evidence from his victim, then 29, who was able to pick out her attacker in an identity parade.
Years later, her ordeal was reinvestigated by Thames Valley Police's major crime review squad. Using methods of DNA analysis which were not available to the original investigation team, they were able to pin the crime on McGuire.
Officers applied to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consent for the case to be reinvestigated under double jeopardy legislation contained within the Criminal Justice Act 2003. McGuire was arrested at his home in Greyhound View, Sandy, Bedfordshire, last July 2011 and the original trial verdict was quashed in December.
Passing sentence, Judge Zoe Smith said: "For your victim, not only did she have to deal with the impact of the rape itself and the terror that she had felt, but such was her distress that she and her family felt obliged to leave the area, leave her job and, because this is a cold case review, we know now the devastating effect that that event had on her life."
Standing outside court alongside her husband and son, Mrs Smith spoke of the "shadow" which has hung over her for more than two decades. She said: "It's just been a shadow hanging over me, constantly there when you go out, the fear that something will happen, it's been constant."