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British rapist caught decades later thanks to daughter's DNA

Published Aug 06, 2021 10:15 pm

A British court jailed a rapist for 11 years on Tuesday on the basis of DNA evidence from the daughter conceived in the attack decades earlier.

In a case dating back to the 1970s, Birmingham Crown Court in central England found Carvel Bennett, 74, guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl, who became pregnant as a result of the attack.

The victim gave the baby up for fostering and later adoption. 

But her daughter, who like the victim cannot be identified for legal reasons, found out the circumstances of her conception when she turned 18. 

She then decided to pursue her mother's case, providing DNA samples that showed Bennett was 22 million times more likely to be her father than any other unknown Afro-Caribbean man who was not related to him.

Bennett, who had initially denied paternity, admitted to having sex with the victim, but claimed she consented and that she had tricked him into believing she was 16.

Judge Martin Hurst said Bennett was "victim-blaming." 

The daughter "met many closed doors, and essentially she had to persuade her mother to relive the trauma", Hurst said, praising her fight for justice.

In a statement read to the court before sentencing, the victim described how she felt she had been "left to deal with it alone".

"People told me how disgusting I was, being pregnant as a child. I was carrying his shame, although for me, the shame was also mine."

West Midlands Police said officers had spoken to the victim but she did not want to make a complaint at the time or when she was approached again in 2014.

She changed her mind in 2019 and an investigation led to Bennett's arrest. (AFP)