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Anthony Hart: DNA Test Convicts Rapist


They may have thought they got away with it. And it’s no wonder – in some cases a decade or more has passed and nobody pressed charges. But thanks to a simple DNA test it is now possible to catch rapists who committed their crime years ago.

DNA Test to Convict Rapists

It’s now common to read headlines such as ‘Rapist jailed 11 years after attack’. One such news story was that of Anthony Hart. In 1996, Hart committed a violent attack but he was tracked down after a DNA test was undertaken on DNA obtained in 2006. The man had raped a 22-year-old woman in Hertfordshire. He had denied raping the woman but the case was reopened after police were able to build up a DNA profile of Hart using the latest scientific techniques.

DNA Profile and Forensic Crime

The DNA test was a result of DNA taken from Hart after he was being held for a minor offence. Hart’s DNA was matched to that found on the scene. The evidence resulted in a nine year sentence for the crime and Hart was also put on the Sex Offenders Register. The DNA test put closure on 11 years of misery for the victim. The victim had been raped twice and threatened with death.

Jailed for Life

In a similar story, a rapist was jailed for life for an attack that took place in 1994. Thirteen years after the attack, Alan Decapet was jailed thanks to a DNA based test that placed him at the scene. The victim, a female chaplain was attacked by Decapet when she walked a towpath in Richmond, London. Decapet admitted to the rape and attempted murder after his DNA was also taken for a separate offence and then used in a test to link him to the rape.

Distinctive Tattoo

The woman was dragged into undergrowth, raped and later stabbed in the stomach when she cried out for help. Remarkably Decapet wasn’t caught earlier despite having a distinctive ‘Made in London’ tattoo around his navel. Decapet had even been arrested in 1995 but police didn’t investigate him for the rape as they thought such tattoos were common.  DNA analysis however provided conclusive evidence. The DNA was taken from shorts worn by the victim. Decapet’s DNA was later taken by police for a separate offence – flashing at a woman. Finally DNA analysis was undertaken to match him to the shorts. The rape victim had been so traumatised by the attack she was incapable of working for seven years. It’s hoped such convictions – thanks to a DNA test – will finally bring closure for women who have been victims of rape and seen their attacker get away with it in the past.

More Real Stories about Rape and Criminal Investigations 

A tragic case that started with the discovery in Ireland of a body. A post mortem of the victim’s body revealed that she had been strangled to death, but had also been beaten across the face. The murder was resolved thanks to the testing of hair samples.

Sibling DNA testing was employed recently in the case of Teresa de Simone, who was murdered in the car park of the Tom Tackle pub (now called The Encore) in Southampton on December 4th 1979. Read how 30-Year Rape and Murder Mystery solved with sibling testing.