THE victim of a horrific knifepoint rape 26 years ago has spoken of her relief after her attacker was jailed.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in court to see former sailor Michael Slevin sentenced to 10 years in prison.
She said ‘justice has been done’.
Slevin, 52, denied ordering the woman into his car and attacking her as she walked alone in Toronto Place, Gosport, in March 1985.
But new DNA technology led police to reopen the case last year, and Slevin was found guilty of rape, kidnap, two charges of indecent assault and one other sexual offence.
During his trial, Slevin claimed to have slept with up to 90 women around the time of the attack.
He couldn’t explain how his DNA came to be found on the victim.
And he even tried to claim he wore glasses and had bright ginger hair at the time of the offence – but pictures produced in court proved that he was a liar.
His victim, who was 19 at the time of the attack, said she was shocked when the police got in contact to say they could identify the man who had raped her.
She said: ‘Having to relive on two occasions what happened to me – once to the police and once in court – has brought back the horror of that night.
‘To see the man who did that to me go to prison makes me feel that justice has been done, and hopefully he will now suffer in the same way I have done for the last 26 years.
‘Other victims of rape need to have the confidence to report this terrible crime to the police and have faith in the system.
‘The men who commit these crimes should not get away with it and victims need to remember that they have done nothing wrong.’
During the two-week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court the jury heard Slevin was in the navy and living at HMS Sultan at the time of the attack.
The victim had been watching a film at a friend’s house and was walking home late at night when she was abducted and subjected to her terrifying ordeal at knifepoint.
Slevin tried to argue his ginger hair in 1985 proved he had not committed the crime.
The jury in Portsmouth Crown Court did not believe Slevin’s claim that he could not be guilty because he had ginger hair and wore glasses at the time of the rape.
The victim had described her attacker as dark-haired and without glasses.
Questioned by Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, about a photograph (above) taken in the mid 1980s and showing him without glasses, Slevin said: ‘Unfortunately I am a bit vain so I would take my glasses off.’
Asked about pictures appearing to show he had brown hair, he said: ‘No it’s ginger, you can see a flash of ginger in there.’
Sentencing Slevin, Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘But for the advances in DNA technology in recent years you would not have been apprehended and this terrible crime would have gone unsolved.
‘It is difficult to imagine what a painful, terrifying and humiliating experience it must have been for the young woman, which was only made worse by the fact it remained unsolved for so long.
‘Her life has been scarred by the trauma of that ordeal, and it must have taken considerable resources for her to put what happened behind her.’
Slevin, now living in Tamar Close, Callington, in Cornwall, was married at the time of the attack.
Defending, Anthony Donne QC, said the only mitigating factor in the case was his client’s ‘long and immaculate record of service in the Royal Navy’, including during the Falklands War.
Prosecutors said a change in the law after 2005 means Slevin’s sentence may be reduced, but he will still spend at least five years behind bars.