THE senior judge who jailed sex attacker Jordan Padley said the case highlighted the importance of taking DNA samples from suspects arrested for offences.
Padley evaded capture for more than a year after attacking his victim on November 4, 2010, until he was arrested on November 20, the following year, over another matter and a DNA sample taken.
It was placed on the national DNA database and was matched with evidence left behind after his sexual assault on his schoolgirl victim.
Police have refused to release details of the offence which led to his capture and it was not mentioned in court, but jailing Padley, Judge Lawler said: “If anything shows the value of obtaining DNA samples this case is it.
“A year went by before you were tracked by your DNA when you were arrested for a different matter.”
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Etheridge, who led the police investigation, said it should serve as a warning to other criminals on the run.
“These offences will never go away - those responsible will be suspects for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“As technology advances and more and more people come to police attention and DNA samples are obtained offenders who think they have got away with it will never be safe.
“Victims of sexual offences should have confidence in reporting crimes knowing how seriously we taken them and that we will never close the case.”
He said there was a team of officers working on the case every day that Padley was on the run.
DCI Etheridge said stranger sex attacks are so rare in Sheffield that the case generated fear in and around Fox Hill, with residents concerned the culprit could strike again.
Parents stopped letting their children play out alone and officers mounted emergency police patrols in the area to try to restore calm.
DCI Etheridge said the community ‘pulled together’ in the aftermath of the attack and were desperate for the attacker to be caught.
Police took the unusual step of agreeing to a mass DNA screening exercise in the immediate area surrounding the open land where the attack took place.
They asked 250 men in the area to provide DNA swabs to be matched against a sample recovered from the crime scene.
He said in addition to extensive house-to-house enquiries in the community, plus DNA screening, officers mounted a road block exercise on the one-month anniversary of the attack to try to identify people in the area on the day of the attack who may have slipped through the net.
They also circulated an e-fit of the suspect and made an appeal for information on BBC’s Crimewatch programme.
“His selfish and perverse actions landed him in the situation he is in now,” added DCI Etheridge.
“He did not know the girl - it was a stranger attacker and community tensions were high afterwards.
“We kept plugging away with the inquiry and when the forensic evidence came to light we arrested him at home.”
VICTIM CAN’T BEAR BOYS GOING NEAR HER NOW
PADLEY’S traumatised teenage victim, who was wearing school uniform when she was attacked, is so mentally scarred by her ordeal she is now unable to leave her home alone.
In her own heartbreaking words, the youngster, now 16, prepared a victim impact statement, which was read out in court.
She said: “I have been affected in many ways. I do not like going out alone any more or staying in the house on my own.
“I hate it when anybody touches my back and I don’t like boys coming near me any more. I do not want to think about getting into relationships as I don’t trust boys.
“I always see the bad in people before the good. I don’t see my friends as much as I used to. I’m scared it is going to happen again.
“For a few months after, my schooling was affected - I did not go every day as I felt everyone was staring at me. I don’t think I will get the grades I should.
“Sometimes I can’t eat, other times I eat loads. Sometimes I have nights when I keep waking up and think about what happened.”
Yet she had been prepared to face him in court if he had gone on trial..
“I wanted to make sure he doesn’t do it to anyone else.”
PRISONERS BEAT UP PERVERT
PRISONERS dished out their own form of justice to Jordan Padley - by beating him up behind bars.
His barrister Ian Goldsack told Sheffield Crown Court that the 22-year-old had been attacked while waiting for his case to reach court.
He said he has a scar above one of his eyes resulting from injuries sustained in one of the assaults.
“He has been the victim of assaults while on remand - there is a scar noticeable above his eye,” Mr Goldsack added.
“He has also been in receipt of some counselling and medication to help him deal with the impact of the offence.
“This is not somebody who is guilt free about what he did - quite the contrary. He is dealing with it and suffering with it.”