Sexual assault monster brought to justice

A MAN has been jailed for 11 years for the sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy at knifepoint on a tow path in Woodham, more than 37 years ago.

Ian David Harmer, 63, of Aspen Lane, Northolt, Ealing, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, reduced to 11 years after he pleaded guilty, when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court last week.

Jailed: Ian Harmer

Although a thorough investigation was carried out at the time, Harmer was not identified. However, the case was kept under regular review and in 2016, with the development of new forensic techniques, samples taken from the victim were compared to profiles held on the national DNA database and came up with a match for Harmer.

Officers tracked him down and he was arrested in February 2017.

“Harmer was a dangerous predator who took advantage of an innocent teenage boy in broad daylight,” said Detective Inspector Paddy Mayers, who led the investigation. “The victim was left severely traumatised by his ordeal and has had to endure more than 35 years of thinking his attacker would never be caught.”

The victim was walking along the tow path next to the Basingstoke Canal around mid-morning on 26 April 1982 when Harmer engaged him in conversation, asking him if he had seen his dog.

Harmer told the victim he had a knife and the victim immediately felt pressure in his lower back leading him to believe Harmer was telling the truth. Harmer then directed the teenager into woodland next to the tow path where he sexually assaulted him.

DI Mayers said: “Harmer thought he had got away with it, but this case demonstrates that no matter how long ago a crime took place, we will never give up in our pursuit to bring the person responsible to justice.”

For the full story get the 27 February edition of the News & Mail

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