Jail for man who committed rape 28-years ago

Philip Andrew
Philip Andrew

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A MAN who raped a woman more than 28 years ago has finally been jailed.

Philip Andrew has been sentenced to 13 years in prison today for attacking Sharon McKerracher when she was just 19 years old. ‬‪ She was walking home when Andrew dragged her into an alleyway near Clarence Road, Southsea, and attacked her at 3.25am on July 2, 1982.

When the police investigation ended without anyone being charged Ms McKerracher thought she would never see justice done.‬‪ But Andrew, 55, was snared thanks to a review of cold cases using modern forensic techniques under Operation Galaxy. ‬‪ Ms McKerracher, 47,  who has waived her right to anonymity in order to speak out about her ordeal, said: ‘We’re finally here. 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 was locked out of her home after losing her friend on a night out and was walking to a friend’s house when Andrew jumped on her back, grabbed her neck and threatened: ‘If you don’t scream I won’t hurt you.’

He beat and kicked her to the ground before brutally raping her.

Four weeks later she spotted him in a post office. A friend called police, Andrew was arrested and DNA taken – but he denied committing the crime.

There was no DNA database at the time so officers could not check whether he was a match and the rapist walked free.

At Portsmouth Crown Court Christopher Stoppa, prosecuting, said: ‘In a sorry reflection of the attitudes of the time she was asked if she was a Tom or a prostitute and reminded of the cost of calling out a doctor and warned about wasting police time.’

Andrew, of Whitcombe Gardens, Milton, had pleaded guilty to rape at a previous hearing.‬‪ The court heard he has previous convictions for a sex assault in 1970, a rape in 1978 and burglary with intent to commit rape in 1995. He was also convicted of possessing child porn in 2001.

Jailing him Judge Ian Pearson said:‬ ‘So far as this case is concerned there are a number of aggravating factors.

‘First of all there was the matter of the sexual degradation of the victim.

‘Quite clearly you were revealing in the pain and suffering you were going to inflict upon her.

‘She was a vulnerable female. The offence was committed at night, you used force and there was an element of pre-planning.

‘The effect upon the victim has been sever and long standing.’

He added: ‘It has to be said the psychiatric report made for very worrying reading indeed.

‘The public do require protection from you, in particular women.’

Richard Button, defending, said Andrew suffered bi-polar disorder and a personality disorder.

He said: ‘My client has told me he feels great shame. He feels sick at what he has done, not just this offence, the previous offences as well.’