BREAKING NEWS: Ex-soldier could get life for raping 68-year-old Northampton widow in 1986

A man accused of breaking into a Northampton widow's home in 1986 and raping her has been found guilty following a unanimous verdict.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 4:21 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:50 am
Donovan Vernon has been found guilty of raping an elderly woman in 1986.

Donovan Vernon did not flinch as the 12-member jury read out the guilty verdict at Northampton Crown Court this afternoon.

On the night of October 11, 1986, the former serviceman broke into a ground floor window of a 68-year-old woman's home in the east of Northampton wearing a ski-mask.

Once inside he stole scraps of cash from around the house and raped the elderly woman, who had only just lost her husband.

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Vernon - a prolific robber with a 31-year history of offending - denied the charges, claiming he and the pensioner had consensual sex in 1986, when he was just 18.

But the jury took little over two hours to reach a verdict today.

Judge Adrienne Lucking QC, adjourned the sentencing for eight weeks so probation officers could assess whether Vernon still posed a risk to the public.

As he is already serving a lengthy sentence for armed robbery and not due for parole until 2023, the judge said she would need to consider locking Vernon up for life.

She said: "I need to consider whether to pass a discretionary life sentence or an extended determinate sentence because of the unusual circumstances of this case, which pre-date his further offending.

"Considering he is now clean of drugs, I need to assess his dangerousness."

Vernon will be sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on August 3.