Man jailed for double rape attack

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A MAN who broke into a teenage girl's home and raped her twice in half an hour has been jailed for eight years.

Simon Murrell, 26, who at one time was a suspect in the Rachel Nickell murder on Wimbledon Common in south-west London, admitted raping the 18-year-old after breaking into the house to steal.

Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday that afterwards he ordered his victim to have a bath to wash away possible evidence, but she was careful not to bathe all over and scientists were later able to pinpoint Murrell as the culprit by using DNA profiling techniques on remaining semen. Brian Lewis, counsel for the prosecution, said that while the victim's parents were away on holiday Murrell broke into her home in Toxteth, Liverpool, in the early hours of 21 August 1991.

He told the court that before leaving after the rape Murrell told the victim to remain upstairs for an hour and, although she soon after heard the front door close, she was so terrified that it was 20 minutes before she rang relatives for help.

Murrell, of Aigburth, Liverpool, who has no previous convictions, was arrested 10 months later. After being arrested he was taken to London to be interviewed about the stabbing of 23-year-old Rachel Nickell. At the time of the murder, July 15 1992, he was working in the Wimbledon area for a funeral directors but he was eliminated from police inquiries, said Detective Inspector Ray Wareham after the hearing.

David Williams, counsel for the defence, said that Murrell had pleaded guilty to rape and spared the victim the ordeal of a trial. He said that Murrell had only broken into the house to burgle and had not planned the rapes.