A MAN who allegedly broke into a woman’s home and raped her has been identified 26 years later by his palm prints, a court heard.
Rodney Francis’s prints were left behind on broken panes of glass at the scene of the crime in 1985, jurors were told.
But the match was only made and the 49-year-old arrested last year following a cold case review and advances in the police database, the Old Bailey heard.
Francis, from Maryfield, Southampton, is alleged to have smashed a window before he wriggled into the woman’s home on the night of the Live Aid concert in 1985.
Holding a kitchen knife to the 21-year-old victim’s throat, Francis allegedly pinned her down on her bed and raped her.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman, who was a university graduate at the time, broke down as she relived her ordeal.
She told the court she was woken in the night by the sound of breaking glass but found nothing when she went to investigate.
But later she said she was disturbed again by a “very quiet” noise coming from the door of her bedroom.
“I started listening and I held my breath for what seemed like ages. When I did open my eyes, there was a man crouched by my bed,” she said.
Talking about how he was brandishing the knife, she said: “He held it back to my throat and said ‘Lie still and shut up or I will use this.’”
After allegedly raping her, the attacker then asked for her name and started chatting to her.
“'He was just talking and talking and I just wanted him to be gone,” she said.
“I wasn’t listening because in my head I was screaming. In the end I did scream at him to go and he left my room.”
She then waited five minutes until she heard the front door close at her home in the North Peckham Estate, south-east London, and went up to investigate.
He had not taken any of her belongings but had eaten half a banana in the kitchen, the court heard.
She also noticed the window had been broken. After having a bath she decided to call a friend who then contacted the police.
Detectives found prints from a left and right palm on the window glass which had been broken by the intruder, the court heard.
Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told jurors that Francis was known as a burglar but a match was not made until improvements were made to the database system in 2006.
He denies rape, attempted buggery and aggravated burglary.