A RAPE victim says she can now get on with her life as her attacker was jailed – 28 years after committing the crime.
Sharon McKerracher was dragged into a Southsea alleyway by Philip Andrew and raped in July 1982.
He was arrested four weeks later after the victim spotted him at a Post Office in Albert Road.
But he was eventually released without charge as police said they had no evidence against him.
Following a cold case review, detectives last year used modern DNA techniques to link Andrew to the crime.
Ms McKerracher, who has waived her right to anonymity, yesterday saw him jailed for 13 years at Portsmouth Crown Court.
The 47-year-old said: ‘It’s taken 28 years but I am living proof that they will catch him.
‘It’s an absolutely fantastic result. I can get on now with my life.’
Ms McKerracher had come to Portsmouth looking for work when she was just 19. She had been walking to a friend’s house at 3.25am on July 2, 1982, when Andrew attacked her in an alleyway near Clarence Road, Southsea.
He grabbed her neck and warned her: ‘If you don’t scream I won’t hurt you.’ He then beat and kicked her to the ground before brutally raping her.
Police let him go as Andrew had an alibi and there was no evidence linking him to the crime, apart from the victim’s statement.
Ms McKerracher, who now lives in Grimsby with her four children, said she wanted an apology from Hampshire Police for the way the case was handled at the time.
Officers had asked her if she was a prostitute and warned her about wasting police time.
‘I identified him and they let him go,’ she said. ‘They let me down. I would like an apology from them.’
Hampshire Police said they hoped the sentence would bring her closure, but had nothing further to add with regards her demand for an apology.
Andrew, 55, of Whitcombe Gardens, Milton, pleaded guilty to rape at an earlier hearing.The court heard he has previous convictions for a sex assault in 1970, a rape in 1978 and a burglary with intent to commit rape in 1995. He was also convicted of possessing child porn in 2001.
Jailing him, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘The effect upon the victim has been severe and long-standing.’
Richard Button, defending, said Andrew suffered bi-polar disorder and a personality disorder.
He said: ‘My client has told me he feels great shame.’