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A man has appeared in Stafford Crown Court on rape charges relating to an offence carried out in 1989. 

The victim, who was 17-years-old at the time, caught a train from Shrewsbury intending to travel to Wellington. She missed her stop and got off at Telford.

She had no money with her but a taxi driver, Irvine Watt, offered to help her. However instead of driving her to Wellington he drove her to a field and raped her. He then drove the victim back to Telford railway station, gave her £1.70 for a ticket back to Shrewsbury. The victim later informed her family what had happened and then the police.

Following a police investigation Watt was arrested and later charged, however the prosecution was later dropped and the defendant acquitted due to lack of forensic evidence.

In 2014, a review was carried out of the forensic evidence which provided a DNA match to the defendant and the matter was successfully brought before the Court of Appeal under the rarely used ‘double jeopardy’ legislation. He was arrested and a successful application was made to quash the 1989 acquittal. Watt was subsequently charged with and found guilty of rape and attempted rape and has now been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.

“For nearly 30 years Irvine Watt had thought that he had escaped justice, however, through new forensic techniques, we were able to match the defendant’s DNA to the 1989 rape,” commented Robin Allen, with the Crown Prosecution Service. “The prosecution team were able to use this key piece of evidence to reopen the case, make an application to quash the previous acquittal and order a retrial resulting in today’s successful conviction.” 

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