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JUSTICE SERVED: Harpenden rapist faces hefty sentence for crimes committed over 20 years ago

 Published on: 13th September 2023   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

A kidnapper who sexually assaulted two teenage girls more than 20 years ago was told by a judge that he faces a hefty prison sentence.

Alec Housden, now 60, admitted snatching a 16-year-old off Piggottshill Lane, Harpenden on April 7, 2002.

He had also pleaded guilty to kidnapping and indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl at the same location on June 19, 2002.

Housden from Kingsbury Gardens, Dunstable, Beds was due to go on trial at St Albans crown court on a charge of kidnapping a 12-year-girl in the same area, two years later, on Wednesday 17 March 2004.

That girl had been grabbed in Greenway Harpenden, at ten to six in the evening on  March 17, 2004. Her attacker fled when she called to a dog walker for help.

On Tuesday the judge ruled that the prosecution could not tell a jury that Housden admitted the 2002 offences because that would simply bolster a weak case in which the eyewitnesses said the kidnapper was in his 20s, and not in his 40s, as Housden would have been.

Prosecutor Nic Lobbenburg KC had wanted to tell a jury that Housden had accessed porn sites where adult women dressed as schoolgirls. He also wanted to bring in evidence from two former partners of Housden who said he had a sexual interest in schoolgirls.

After the judge’s ruling, Mr Lobbenburg offered no evidence on the case of the 12-year-old girl, and a not guilty verdict was entered.

The first victim was aged 16 and walking home from school at half past five on April 17, 2002 when she noticed a silver car on the street ahead of her.

A few minutes later Housden, then in his late 30s, grabbed her from behind. A hand was put over her mouth and she was dragged to a wooded area where he sexually assaulted her.

After he left she was found by a jogger and taken to a nearby house, where the police were called. A DNA swab from her bra has now linked the crime to Housden.

On June 19, 2002 – two months later – a 17-year-old girl was in the same street when Housden jogged by. He grabbed her and put his hand over her mouth. The teenager was placed in the passenger seat of his car and orally raped.

Judge Michael Roques remanded him in custody for sentence on December 18 and also asked for a probation officer to prepare a report on the danger Housden posted. He told him: “You face a custodial sentence of some significant length.”

Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: “The investigation into the kidnaps and two serious sexual assaults was never closed and we have remained in contact with the victims.

“During a review of the investigation in June 2022, we re-visited all the evidence, including forensic evidence. In April 2023, Housden was arrested and a DNA match was confirmed for the 2002 offences.

“With such overwhelming evidence, we were able to get Housden before the courts and be accountable for his abhorrent actions.

“I hope this reassures the public that we never give up on a case, no matter how long ago it might have occurred.”

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