A convicted rapist has been jailed for 13 years after being convicted of raping a 15-year-old boy near Bedford in 1995.

James Devlin, 55, was coming to the end of a prison sentence for a separate rape in 1996 when his DNA was linked to the historic crime.

Detectives from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit have examined cases dating from 1974 to 1999 as part of a major taskforce, ‘Operation Painter’. The unsolved rape was one of the cases which the taskforce looked into. Scientific advances allowed officers to link Devlin’s DNA to the crime.

In 1995, Devlin approached a 15 year-old boy and, under the pretence of needing help with his car, lured the boy to a nearby area where he raped him. At the time of the attack, no suspects could be identified using DNA technologies available at the time and the crime remained unsolved.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Page, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who investigated the cold case, said: “We cannot underestimate the impact of Devlin’s actions upon his young victim.

“He has lived with this for over two decades, and we are pleased we have now been able to solve this despicable crime that has haunted him.

“Devlin is now going to spend further time in jail, safely behind bars, and this should give him time to reflect upon his depraved and unacceptable behaviour.

“The sentence demonstrates that no matter how long since a sexual offence occurred, we will take every report seriously and work to ensure those responsible face the consequences.”

Devlin will now spend a further 13 years in prison following his second conviction. If both crimes had been dealt with at the original hearing, it is likely that Devlin would have served a combined sentence which would have been shorter than the two separate prison sentences which he has now faced.

David Matthew was instructed by the prosecution.

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