Breaking Northamptonshire

A routine DNA swab led to the arrest of a man five years after he raped a woman at knifepoint in Northamptonshire

Martin Twort, aged 31, is today (Wednesday, October 20) facing a lengthy jail sentence for the sex attack which happened more than nine years ago.

The defendant was yesterday found guilty of rape following a trial at Northampton Crown Court during which his victim gave evidence.

Twort, formerly of Byfield Road, St James, Northampton, had denied the charge, but a jury found him unanimously guilty after less than three hours of deliberation.

The jury heard how the victim, who was then in her mid-40s, had been picked up by a man as she was walking home following a visit to Northampton General Hospital on June 10, 2012.

As she came out of a shop in Semilong, a man in a car pulled over and asked her if she wanted a lift and, feeling unwell, she accepted.

The court was told they drove around for a while, eventually heading in the direction of Kingsthorpe at which he then began to talk about sex.

The man pulled over in an isolated spot somewhere between Moulton and Pitsford and when the victim resisted his attempts to kiss her, he produced a knife and threatened to kill her as she was dragged from the vehicle.

She was then subjected to a violent rape during which he warned her that he would kill her if she went to the police.

A security guard at Moulton College eventually found the terrified victim wandering along a road in a state at 2.10am the following day.

Subsequent medical treatment revealed large areas of bruising across her body and while statutory DNA swabs were taken on recovered bodily fluids, they provided no matches on the database and the case went unsolved for a further five years.

In July 2017, however, Twort, who now lives in Great Yarmouth, was arrested on an unrelated theft matter.

While that investigation never reached court, a DNA swab was taken as part of the inquiry which matched that of the one taken during the rape investigation of 2012 and Twort was arrested.

DS Julie Gallagher from Northamptonshire Police’s Cold Case Team, who led the investigation, said justice had finally been served for a particularly violent and menacing rape.

She said: “The victim has shown tremendous courage in supporting the investigation and can now finally be reassured that this man will go to jail for a very long time.

“I’d to thank my team who worked tremendously hard on the investigation which led to the conviction of this dangerous and violent man.”

Det Supt Emma James, from the Force’s Crime Command, said: “Northamptonshire Police will continue to work tirelessly to combat violence against women and girls and we will always seek to investigate and review non-recent offences, no matter how long ago they happened.”

Twort, who was remanded in custody by Judge David Herbert QC, will appear for sentencing at Northampton Crown Court on December 16.