‘Justice is served’: Man who raped Manchester woman in her own bed 32 years ago jailed due to DNA advances

A man who raped a Manchester woman in her own bed after breaking into her home 32 years ago has been sent to prison.

Greater Manchester Police’s Cold Case Unit used DNA profiling to catch 59-year-old Henry William Drennan, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, 18 years on license and made to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Drennan broke into the then 29-year-old victim’s house in North Manchester on the night of February 2 1984, whilst her husband was out and her child slept in his bedroom.

He crept into her room without waking her, held a sharp object to her throat and raped her, before threatening her not to tell anyone of the terrifying ordeal before he left.

Although she defied this by telling her husband, who immediately informed police, it was not until early last year that police were able to secure a DNA match, despite the case being reopened in 2009.

Detective Constable Michaela Clinch said that Drennan, originally from Lanarkshire, Scotland, had ruined his victim’s life through his actions.

“This case has taken a horrific toll upon the victim, who has suffered for more than thirty years as a result of Drennan’s attack,” she said.

“The initial impact upon her was horrendous, she had been raped at home in her own bed, where she should have been perfectly safe.” 

“She was scared to be alone in her own home, scared to go out, scared to take the bus to visit family, scared to live her day-to-day life.

“Even now, 32 years later, she will suffer vivid flashbacks of the whole terrifying ordeal out of the blue.

“Like so many rape victims she was left feeling embarrassed, humiliated and vulnerable and if she is forced to remember being attacked, those feelings can be as intense today as they were back in 1984.

“With that in mind, her choice to support the police re-investigation in 2015 was an incredibly brave one, and was made with the right intention, to prevent this man from doing the same thing to someone else.

“This case is a testament to the bravery of the victim, the hard work of detectives in the Cold Case Unit, but also the forensic scientists who have worked tirelessly with us and deserve great credit for their assistance which has allowed us to bring this reprehensible individual to justice.

“The conclusion of this investigation 32 years after it was committed should serve as a reassurance to the public that GMP’s Cold Case Unit never considers such horrendous cases to be closed until justice is served.

“It should also serve as a warning to other offenders that we are onto you.”

Image courtesy of U.S. Army RDECOM, via Flickr, with thanks

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