Man jailed for 1984 rape after new DNA technique used
New technology sees UK man sentenced to 10 years in prison 32 years after attack
Henry William Drennan (58) was arrested at his home in Scotland more than three decades after attacking his victim in Manchester in 1984. Photograph: GMP/PA Wire
A man who raped a woman 32 years ago is starting a 10-year jail term after police used cutting-edge technology to match his DNA to the crime scene.
She awoke with Drennan’s hand over her mouth and a pair of scissors against her before he raped her while her child slept nearby.
Drennan, of Spey Court, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty to rape at Manchester Crown Court last December and was today sentenced to 10 years jail, put on licence for 18 years and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.
The attack took place on January 13th 1984, when the then 29-year-old woman was sleeping in her home.
Her husband had left the house early that morning, leaving his wife and their young child asleep in their beds, the court heard.
Drennan broke into the house while the victim slept, and entered her bedroom without waking her.
The first thing the victim knew of the attack was the sharp instrument, thought to be a pair of scissors, held against her by Drennan, who had clamped his other hand over her mouth.
He then raped her, before asking if she had any money and telling her not to report the rape to anyone.
After he fled, the victim immediately went to check on her child, before calling her husband, who alerted police to the attack.
Police investigations revealed forensic evidence, but DNA technology at the time was not sophisticated enough to use the samples.
Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Cold Case Unit re-opened the investigation in 2009, but even then the DNA technology available was not sophisticated enough to progress the case.
But in early 2015, with the introduction of the latest generation of DNA profiling methodologies, detectives finally had the opportunity to crack the three decade-old investigation.
A sample first taken from the victim in 1984 was tested using the new technology and in July 2015, a DNA profile was developed which matched that of a known offender, Drennan, who had his details recorded on the DNA database.
Outside court, Detective Constable Michaela Clinch from GMP said: “This case has taken a horrific toll upon the victim, who has suffered for more than thirty years as a result of Drennan’s attack.
“The initial impact upon her was horrendous, she had been raped at home in her own bed, where she should have been perfectly safe.
“She was scared to be alone in her own home, scared to go out, scared to take the bus to visit family, scared to live her day-to-day life.
“Even now, 32 years later, she will suffer vivid flashbacks of the whole terrifying ordeal out of the blue.
“The conclusion of this investigation 32 years after it was committed should serve as a reassurance to the public that GMP’s Cold Case Unit never considers such horrendous cases to be closed until justice is served.
“It should also serve as a warning to other offenders that we are onto you.”