A WILTSHIRE Police team have won a prestigious national award for their work in solving a gunpoint sex assault case a decade after it happened.
Wiltshire detectives DCI Sean Memory and DC Malcolm Gaskill were presented with an Excellence in Investigation Award from The Investigator magazine for Best Cold Case.
The incident happened in October 2001 when a 16-year-old girl and her boyfriend, also 16, were attacked on Salisbury’s Town Path by a man with a gun. The boy was knocked unconscious and the girl was made to perform a sex act at gunpoint.
Despite a large-scale police investigation and appeals on Crimewatch at the time, no suspect was found. DCI Memory and DC Gaskill thoroughly reviewed the original investigation and pursued a number of lines of inquiry, including DNA swabbing, while Crimewatch produced more new lines of inquiry. Once an offender was identified, covert DNA was gathered. This was ground-breaking technology as covert DNA had not been used before. Surveillance allowed this to be obtained and a full match was confirmed.
Keith William Henderson, 59, formerly of Cooks Close, Fugglestone Red was found guilty by a jury in 2012 and sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
DCI Memory said: “We never gave up hope of identifying and bringing to justice the person responsible for committing these offences. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we received from both victims of this horrendous attack.”
Chief Superintendent Kier Pritchard said: “We are extremely proud of the team and the recognition of their skill and dedication is justly deserved. This case clearly shows the commitment of our officers to identify offenders and bring them to justice. “Victims are always at the heart of any investigation and our approach is one of continuous improvement, embracing new advances in investigation techniques and maximising forensic opportunities.”
Nine awards were handed out to UK police forces at the ceremony in Birmingham last Wednesday. The Wiltshire team was one of two winners of Best Cold Case.