Man jailed following cold case rape investigation
15 October 2012
A cold case investigation by officers from the Met’s Sapphire Command has seen a man jailed for eight years for the rape of a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl 16 years ago.
Oliver Bernard, aged 47 (12.10.65), of Lullingstone Avenue, Swanley, Kent was sentenced on Friday 12 October at the Old Bailey for the rape which occurred in Lambeth in 1996 after the case was re-opened in 2010 by Sapphire detectives.
On the evening of Thursday 25 January 1996 the victim was approached by Bernard as she walked along Christchurch Road SW2.
After asking her for money and a cigarette and being refused, he attempted to engage her in conversation.
After initially speaking with him the victim became wary and attempted to disengage Bernard. But he put his hand over her mouth and threatened to ‘cut her throat’ if she screamed; before placing a knife to her throat.
He dragged her into a nearby garage area and raped her. Following the incident he attempted to follow her from the scene, but slipped on some ice and fell into a nearby bush. The victim was able to run home and raise the alarm.
Despite numerous inquiries by police, no suspect was identified at the time; however the case was re-opened 14 years later by detectives from the Cold Case Sapphire Unit.
A submission of the original samples resulted in a hit on the database for Bernard, who had previously been arrested. The victim, now aged in her 30s, was approached by police and indicated that she was willing to assist with the police prosecution.
On 12 March 2012 Bernard was arrested on suspicion of rape and taken to Lewisham police station. He was charged with rape and subsequently pleaded guilty to his offences.
Detective Constable Andy Beete, Cold Case Team, said: “Bernard was a particularly callous individual who subjected his young victim to the most awful of ordeals. I am pleased it has been possible to bring him to justice and commend the victim’s bravery in supporting this prosecution.
“It is highly likely Bernard has committed further sexual offences and I am releasing his image today in the hope anyone who recognises him as a suspect contacts the Sapphire Cold Case Team on 020 7161 1034. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”