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Life for ‘most dangerous rapist’ caught 32 years on

‘An evil man’: Ian Harper PICTURE SWNS

A RAPIST described as ‘one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK’ has been jailed for life after he was convicted for an attack more than 30 years ago.

Ian Harper violently raped a mother in her 30s after breaking into her home wearing a balaclava, demanding money and holding a screwdriver to her throat.

The 57-year-old carried out the 1985 attack while the woman was waiting for her children to return from school.

Harper admitted rape, burglary and indecent assault at Peterborough crown court. He is already serving a jail sentence for a series of rapes and burglaries in Hertfordshire in 1994.

Det Insp Alan Page said: ‘Ian Harper is an evil man.

‘He is one of the most dangerous sexual predators in the UK and to secure a further prison term against him will mean our communities are protected from him committing further offences.’

Harper, who is also known as Ian Harrison, was the first person charged under Operation Painter, which was set up last year to review unsolved sexual offences in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire between 1974 and 1999.

In January his DNA was found to match a profile held in the National Forensic Archive. He was given a life sentence for rape and 12 months to run concurrently for burglary and indecent assault.

Det Insp Page added: ‘The attack on this victim was horrendous and has had an unimaginable impact on her and her family. I hope the sentence will be of some small comfort to them 32 years on.’

He also paid tribute to the victim and her family for helping with the investigation, which he said ‘shows we will continue to strive to bring offenders to justice no matter how long ago the offence occurred’.