Man jailed for 1990 rape of teenager

Paul Shakespeare, now 66, snatched his 18-year-old victim from a footpath as she walked her dog and dragged her into bushes before attacking her.

Rod Minchin
Monday 17 January 2022 18:56
A general view of Gloucester Crown Court (Tim Ireland/PA)
A general view of Gloucester Crown Court (Tim Ireland/PA)

A man who brutally raped a teenager more than 30 years ago has been jailed for nine years.

Armed with a large sharpened stick, Paul Shakespeare, now 66, snatched his 18-year-old victim from a footpath as she walked her dog and dragged her into bushes before attacking her.

The daylight rape in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire left the teenager so traumatised she has never told her family what happened to her on the afternoon of Sunday April 29 1990.

Paul Shakespeare has been jailed for nine years for the stranger rape of a teenager in 1990 (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

After raping the girl, Shakespeare threatened to find her and kill her if she told anyone, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

Shakespeare was only brought to justice after he was arrested in Cumbria last year and his DNA matched the profile of the rapist.

Virginia Cornwall, prosecuting, told the court the attack took place in broad daylight near to a children’s play area on the Honeybourne line, a former railway line area popular with walkers and cyclists.

She said Shakespeare had been seen prior to the attack staring at women near to the play area.

“This was a premeditated stranger rape when a weapon was used to gain the victim’s submission,” she said.

“The defendant had noticed the teenager alone and he had selected her for what was a premeditated assault.

“She recalls the stick above his head as he spoke to her, ‘Don’t say anything, be quick or I’ll kill you’.

“She became frightened and obeyed because she was scared.

“After raping her he asked where she lived and where she worked and it seems she told him through fear.

“Before running off he told her, ‘I know where you live and where you work and I’ll come and find you. If you tell anyone I’ll kill you’.”

The sharpened stick used by Paul Shakespeare to threaten the victim (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

After Shakespeare fled, the teenager approached a woman and told her she had been raped and the police were informed.

An investigation was launched and despite local and national press coverage, Shakespeare was not caught.

In 2008 the victim took part in a Crimewatch reconstruction but the defendant still evaded justice.

In June last year Shakespeare was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and his DNA later matched samples taken from the rape.

Shakespeare initially denied the attack and said he had consensual sex with the teenager.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the victim, who is now in her 40s, said the rape had a profound effect on her causing her to try and take her own life.

“I couldn’t tell my family because of the shame I felt, I felt embarrassed, violated and dirty.

“To this day my mum is not aware of what happened to me,” she said.

“Being raped will haunt me for the rest of my life.

“On that day I was the most scared I have ever been.

“I didn’t know whether I would live or die – I was petrified.

“I am grateful he has finally admitted what he has done.

“I can only hope that he is remorseful, not only to me, but to his family for the pain he has caused for knowing that he is now a rapist.”

Paul Shakespeare had driven a nail through the stick (Gloucester Police/PA)

At a previous hearing, Shakespeare, of Scaleby Close, Upperby, Carlisle pleaded guilty to rape and possession of an offensive weapon.

Kim Whittlestone, defending, said Shakespeare was in poor health suffering from epilepsy and was now using a wheelchair.

“There are family members who were unaware of his offending 30 years ago. He has been married for 20 years. His wife works in the NHS as a nurse, and he has three adult children,” she said.

“All have to come to terms with what occurred, and he feels remorse and shame for that.”

Jailing Shakespeare for nine years, Judge Michael Cullum said: “I am so relieved this day has finally come for your victim.

“For 30 years she has been denied justice and living daily with the nightmare you inflicted upon her.

“That nightmare does not end with sentence.

“She knew this day would come and her remarkable faith in criminal justice has been borne out.

“At least she and all women will be safe from you for a considerable period of time.”

The judge condemned Shakespeare for initially claiming the rape was consensual.

“It was a wicked lie and it was the ultimate in victim blaming,” he said.

“This was not consensual, and this was nothing like consensual and as a result of your actions your victim tried to end her life.

“That day you went out to rape and you did rape.

“Although you did know, and your family didn’t, you are a rapist.”

Shakespeare was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Detective Constable Simone Bowley said: “That young woman was immensely courageous, and her bravery since then has not wavered.

“She has had to wait for more than 30 years to hear Shakespeare admit his abhorrent crimes and watch him get jailed.

“I am pleased for her that this day has come and I truly hope she can now get the closure which she has deserved for all of these years.”

Retired Detective Sergeant Mike Wilson, who led the initial investigation in 1990, said: “I’ve been involved in lots of investigations during my 31 years in the police service, but this horrendous crime always stayed in the back of my mind and never went away.

“Being told that there was finally a DNA match more than 30 years later was great news.”

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