A rapist Tube driver who attacked two women 20 years ago has finally been jailed after DNA taken last year identified him as the culprit of the crimes.
Russell Simon Chandler, 41, from Watford, raped a 34-year-old woman on May 9, 1994 and attempted to rape a 22-year-old woman two days later.
His DNA was left at both crime scenes but he was only traced when he was arrested last June. DNA taken when he was arrested matched traces left at the crime scenes.
On Friday, Chandler was jailed for 13 years at Harrow Crown Court.
His first victim was attacked and raped as she walked through an underpass at Watford Way, Mill Hill and the second was also attacked in Mill Hill as she walked home from a leisure centre.
The attacks were linked but no suspect was identified. When it was investigated as a cold case in 2005, no new leads appeared.
It was only when Chandler was arrested last June for a different offence that his DNA was taken and loaded onto a national database.
Police arrested him 10 days later after his records matched those left at both scenes in 1994.
At court Chandler pleaded guilty to two sexual assaults but was found guilty of rape and attempted rape at his trial.
Kay Scudder, Crown Prosecution Service London reviewing lawyer, said: “Russell Chandler may have thought he had got away with these terrible crimes but he has now been convicted.
“He pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the two women but was not prepared to admit that he had raped one of them and attempted to rape the other.
“We were determined that he would be held responsible for the full extent of his crimes and proceeded with the case to trial.
“More than 20 years after their terrifying ordeals the victims showed great bravery in giving evidence against their attacker in court.
“I would like to thank them for their support of the prosecution and I hope that they finally feel that they have some sense of justice.”
Chandler was sentenced to 13 years for the rape and nine and a half years for the attempted rape, to run concurrently, and will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.
l A popular bowling alley has scrapped hip hop and urban music nights after receiving a “wake-up call” when a patron was stabbed and nearly killed on his first night out in central London.
Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes faced losing its late licence this week after police demanded a licence review over the attack in October, when the venue had hosted an urban music DJ night.
An 18-year-old from Barnet nearly died after being knifed 20 metres from the venue, shortly after it was emptied by bouncers due to a fight inside. Police say the victim had not been involved in the fight and no arrests have been made.
However, the venue was allowed to keep its 3am closing time after Camden Council agreed at the hearing on Thursday that it could not be blamed for the attack.
Councillors also rejected calls from police to force the venue to up security by employing large numbers of bouncers at all times.
Speaking afterwards, owner Jon Dalton said he was relieved as the police’s proposed conditions would have threatened the business by making it “highly unprofitable”.
He agreed that the incident had been a “wake-up call” – the words of committee chairman Meric Apak – and said the venue had already responded by bringing in a raft of security measures, including metal detectors and ID scanners.
It has also re-evaluated all of its club nights and cancelled a regular hip hop event called Bowlin’ With The Homies as a result. The event posed too great a risk according to the venue’s cautious new approach, due to the type of crowd attracted.
Dalton said: “We’re relieved we haven’t lost the late licence, if those conditions were imposed it would have made it highly unprofitable.
“It was never going to be workable and would have been unfair – and that’s what the committee realised.
“We already have [seen this as a wake-up call] and implemented many new things.”
Speaking during the hearing on Thursday, detective constable Simon Radcliffe said that hip hop events do carry an “element of risk” and can attract a “criminal vein”.
He said the victim was on life support for about 48 hours and has been left with permanent liver damage, as well as being deeply psychologically scarred.
However, after watching CCTV footage, the council felt the fight inside the venue was more of a “scrap” than a mass brawl, and that bouncers dealt with the situation reasonably well.
Some of the claims made by police were also called into question. Officers said a man was wielding a stick like a weapon, but it was in fact a cleaner with a mop.
The council also accepted that staff had separated the two fighting groups, ejecting them via different exits. Police admitted it could not be confirmed that the knife attacker had even been at the venue.
However, councillor Apak ended the hearing by telling Dalton: “It’s highly likely that the perpetrator has come from your premises.
“Take this as a wake-up call, it could have ended tragically.”
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