DNA snares deaf woman's rapist

AN IPSWICH man who raped and bashed a deaf pensioner in a brutal home invasion more than 12 years ago was identified by his DNA when he was arrested for an unrelated crime last year.

Ipswich District Court heard the 29-year-old man, who was almost 17 when the offence occurred and cannot be named, forced his way into the woman's Ipswich home on June 26, 1999.

The court heard the woman, 58 at the time, had been to church on the evening of the attack and was home alone when the youth knocked on her back door and asked to see her son, who he was friends with.

She told the youth her son wasn't home but she would let him know he'd visited.

Some time later the youth came back, his face covered with his shirt, and chased her into the house.

He repeatedly punched her in the face and head, before putting a football sock around her neck and started strangling her.

As he dragged her into the lounge, the court heard the woman tried to calm him down as she feared for her life.

He told her to shut up while continuing to bash her and dragged her into her bedroom, causing raw, open abrasions to her elbows.

She told him to stop and asked if he was after money.

The court heard he said "I'm going to rape you first".

He then stripped her naked, raped her and stole $4.

The woman told him there was more money in her son's room so the youth dragged her into there, raped her again and then used a sheet to smother her face.

The court heard the youth then fled and the woman waited 10 minutes before putting on a dressing gown and going to a neighbour's for help.

She was taken by ambulance to the Ipswich General Hospital with multiple injuries including facial and body bruising, trauma and abrasions.

The crime went unsolved until police arrested the man on an unrelated matter and his DNA was matched to the scene.

The man yesterday pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count each of attempted rape, indecent assault, torture, burglary and stealing, two counts of wilful damage and four counts of obstruct or assault police.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to undergo a sexual offenders' program while in prison.

With time already served, he will be eligible for parole on May 6 next year.

Judge Sarah Bradley said the attack was shocking, prolonged, brutal and vicious.

"Your behaviour was callous without regard to her humanity," Judge Bradley said.

"She was clearly terrified and feared for her life."

Crown prosecutor John Copley said the woman, now 70, still suffered from the attack.

"It utterly devastated her," Mr Copley said.

"It was a situation of extraordinary aggravation, for a man to enter her home when he knew her age, knew she was home alone and her disabilities."

Defence barrister Andrew West said his client had been using hallucinogenic drugs at the time of the offence and had no memory of the attack.

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