Thursday, 1 Jun 2023

Rapist convicted of decades-old attack by DNA from chewing gum he threw at door

A man has been jailed for six years for a rape committed almost 20 years ago after DNA was obtained from chewing gum. Police had previously been unable to identify the suspect – but the case was re-opened following a DNA match in relation to another crime in 2018.

Through CCTV and DNA analysis of the gum, the suspect was identified as Lindell Campbell, also known as Tony.

Detective Constable Tony Anionwu, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Despite it being 18 years since this attack took place, it continues to have a significant impact on the victim, and we are pleased that the man responsible has finally been brought to justice.

“The dedication and perseverance of our officers should act as a warning to anyone else who has committed such an awful crime.”

In October 2004, the woman went to a pub alone in west London, having been unable to contact a friend.

After meeting Campbell in the pub, he offered the victim a place to stay for the night after her friend did not arrive and could not be contacted.

With few other options due to the time of night, she accepted.

Once at Campbell’s home, the defendant insisted the victim share the bed with him, rather than sleep on the sofa as she had suggested.

In the bed, Campbell raped her twice. The victim stayed at the suspect’s home until the morning, fearing what he would do if she tried to leave. and he walked her to the station the next day.

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The victim was then cared for at a facility specialised in caring for victims of rape or sexual assault where staff and a specially trained officer provided advice and assistance.

The victim agreed to assist police by driving around to try and locate the suspect’s address. However, being unfamiliar with the area, the search proved unsuccessful and the case went cold.

In 2018, Campbell was connected to a harassment case in which chewing gum was thrown at someone’s front door and car. DNA tests were carried out on chewing gum, which matched the DNA found at the time of the rape.

However, as Campbell had never been arrested, his DNA was not on the system.

He was recognised, although not identified, by the victim of harassment who believed he lived in Burke Close.

Officers compared CCTV from a 2014 incident, to that of several of the harassment incidents, in order to confirm the identity of Tony Campbell.

Once in custody, a fast-time DNA test was undertaken, confirming a match to both the rape and harassment cases.

The trial took place at Kingston Crown Court and on May 9, Campbell was found guilty of two counts of rape.

He was sentenced on the same day to six years’ imprisonment to run concurrently and will remain on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

DC Anionwu added: “We are dedicated to removing those who are violent towards women and girls from the streets of London.

“Campbell not only sexually assaulted a young, vulnerable woman who was on holiday, but then went on to harass another woman, making her feel uncomfortable in her own home.”

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