Case solved after 26 years: Croydon double rapist sentenced for sexual attack on man and woman

Clarke, Photo: Met Police

Robert Clarke

Justice has caught up with a man who raped a woman twice and indecently assaulted her male housemate in a Croydon flat 26 years ago.

Robert Clarke, now 43, attacked the pair in their shared flat in Upper Norwood in 1984.

Detective Constable Claire Watts, of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Sapphire Cold Case Review Team said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for both victims.”

Clarke, 16 at the time, broke into the flat wearing a balaclava, holding an iron bar, and also armed with a knife. He forced the pair to undress, and raped the woman. He proceeded to sexually assault the man and forced him to abuse his female flatmate.

Clarke left the pair tied up with cables and chains, and escaped through the window, where he left a print of his palm on the windowsill.

Police finally managed to pinpoint Clarke as a suspect when a review of the unsolved case was ordered, and his fingerprints were identified from the handprint he had left 26 years ago.

Lisa Wilding, prosecuting, said: “In 1984 the trail ran cold and it was not possible to trace the assailant. But scenes of crime officers took finger print evidence which included a palm print from the inside of the window.”

Clarke, who has previous convictions dating to 1982, is currently serving a 30-month custodial sentence for burglary. He has been sentenced to another 16 years of imprisonment.

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