Northamptonshire Police missed a chance to catch a Northampton rapist who went on to violently abuse another woman 'for hours' in his camper van, an investigation has found.
Ian Dunbar, 43, was jailed for 25 years in April 2018 for a campaign of rape against sex workers who he abused 'for hours at a time' after driving them to a secluded car park.
But a report has found Northamptonshire Police had a chance to identify and stop Dunbar after they matched his DNA from an attack in May 2017 to a sample from an earlier case.
However, investigations have shown the force did not act on the evidence and "appeared to continue on the basis there was no match", despite emails sent to officers about it.
Dunbar went on to attack another woman in November 2017.
The report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) branded the performance 'unsatisfactory' and advised that the sergeant and supervisor in the case undergo an improvement programme.
Detective Superintendent Mark Behan, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the errors made in the initial investigation and as a result of the IOPC’s findings, the officers involved are now on an improvement programme.
"I want to reassure the public that we do treat allegations of rape, both recent and non-recent, extremely seriously, with victims supported throughout by specialist officers."
One victim told Northampton Crown Court she feared for her life and believed she would "leave in a body bag" or be buried at the scene.
"These were deeply traumatic and terrifying experiences for these two women," said Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking as she sentenced him for nine counts of rape.
"One of them described it as torture... You took them to the middle of nowhere where they couldn't get away."
The court also heard he attempted to deep clean his van after the attacks to destroy forensic evidence.