Scientific breakthrough brings a violent sex attacker to justice after 31 years (19 Oct 2015)

Ground-breaking scientific techniques have helped West Yorkshire Police put a vicious sex attacker behind bars - more than thirty years after he committed the crime.

David _leslie _tait _17_07_59In August 1984, a man broke into a flat in Wakefield where a 25-year-old woman and her baby son were sleeping. The intruder violently attacked the woman and attempted to rape her. During the assault, she was stabbed in the chest by her attacker before managing to escape to safety with her child.

The Major Incident Review Team began reviewing this case last year. It led to a new scientific tool called 'LiRa' being used in this case for the very first time in West Yorkshire and identified 56-year-old David Leslie Tait as the attacker.

Tait from the Featherstone area was sentenced to 13 years at Leeds Crown Court on 15 October for attempted rape, burglary and threats to kill.

John Gilbody, Head of Operations at Yorkshire and The Humber Scientific Support Services, said: "As DNA profiling becomes ever more sensitive the likelihood of detecting DNA from multiple sources is increasing. Some of these profiles are straightforward to interpret, but others can be very complex.

"LiRa, an innovative ground breaking technique developed by our partners LGC Forensics, uses sophisticated statistical software to help the courts and investigating teams understand the strength of the evidence in cases involving complicated profiles. There is little doubt that LiRa strongly assisted in the successful prosecution of David Leslie Tait for an offence that has remained undetected for over 30 years."

The Major Incident Review Team has recently been boosted by 35 new investigators employed by West Yorkshire Police to help crack historic unsolved murders and serious sexual assaults. In June this year, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner announced that over £1.5m worth of funding would be made available to review cold cases.

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "I regularly speak to families who have lost loved ones and victims who have suffered horrific crimes but never seen anyone brought to account for what happened.

"This extra funding is helping old cases and it is already having a direct impact on the communities of West Yorkshire, building on incredible advances in forensic techniques and bringing about real results for loved ones desperately seeking closure and victims who have survived their ordeal but never seen anyone brought to justice."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019