Friday 20 April 2018

Rapist caught after 23 years as victim learned how to preserve evidence thanks to EastEnders storyline

Salvador Orozco, who was jailed for nine years at Newcastle Crown Court
Salvador Orozco, who was jailed for nine years at Newcastle Crown Court

Tom Wilkinson

A rapist who fled to Hawaii was brought to justice 23 years after he attacked a stranger on her way home as she was inspired by an EastEnders storyline to preserve crucial evidence.

Salvador Orozco, 49, was jailed for nine years at Newcastle Crown Court today after he was convicted of raping a woman in a Gateshead railway yard in 1990.

He had got away with it until a cold case review six years ago led officers to re-examine the inquiry and the defendant was traced to the US.

Police and the CPS worked closely to get Orozco extradited from Hawaii.

During the trial, his victim explained how watching EastEnders had led her to preserve evidence.

She had watched the BBC soap when character Kathy Beale was raped by posh bar owner James Willmott-Brown.

The woman said: "Kathy had been raped by Willmott-Brown and I remember watching the story.

"I knew I had not to have a shower or bath and I knew it was important to remember as much as I could.

"When I got home I decided to make notes of everything that happened, step-by-step, so it would help me remember when I spoke to police."

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Musgrove, from Northumbria Police said: "This was a particularly violent offence of a stranger rape which has had a lasting impact not only upon the victim, but was also remembered by the officers who investigated the crime 23 years ago.

"This case shows that together with our partners in the CPS, we are committed to doing all we can to bring offenders to justice.

"The verdict sends a clear message to offenders of these types of crime that there is no hiding place and we are determined to support victims to seek justice and help them to achieve closure after they have suffered such serious crimes.

"Crimes of this nature are unusual and I hope that this verdict today will encourage victims of rape and other sexual offences to come forward and provide reassurance that their case will be thoroughly and professionally investigated; no matter how long it takes."

His victim hoped the case will give hope to other victims of rape.

She said: "I really want to thank everyone: friends, family, police and victim support.

"I could not have got through the last 23 years without their ongoing support.

"I want my case to give hope to other victims of rape; just because the offender is not caught or prosecuted at the time does not mean you won't get justice in the future."

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