May 2019

Depraved sex offender jailed for 1995 Shortstown rape

A depraved sex offender has been jailed for 13 years for the rape of a schoolboy in Shortstown, near Bedford more than 23 years ago.

In 1995, the 15-year-old had been waiting by a bus stop for his friend when James Devlin, 55, came up and asked him if he would help bump start his car.

The boy, who was still in his school uniform, agreed to help and followed Devlin a short distance before being suddenly pulled into some bushes where he was raped.

At the time, in October 1995, the attacker wasn’t identified. But, thanks to advances in DNA technology, intimate samples retained by Bedfordshire police in 1995 were re-examined as part of a cold case review in 2017.

It was this that proved Devlin was the attacker.

Around the time of the cold case review, Devlin was nearing the end of a life sentence imposed by Northampton crown court in 1996 for the rape of a 14-year-old boy in the county that year.

At Luton crown court, Judge Barbara Mensah was told the attack on the youngster that day in Shortstown near Bedford had had a life changing impact on him.

His friends at school discovered what had happened and he was teased and bullied.

He began suffering from anxiety and depression and, in the years that followed, moved away from his family and became addicted to alcohol and heroin.

He had his own brushes with the law and was plagued by suicidal thoughts.

Part of a victim impact statement was read out in court in which he said: ”The rape affected every single area of my life for the worse.

“It affected my life drastically and sent me down the wrong path,” he said.

Devlin, 55, appeared for sentence today having been found guilty in January of this year of the single rape of the 15 year old.

The court heard how at the time of the attack Devlin was living in Bedford but no address was given in court, as he’s been residing in prison.

Devlin strenuously denied the charge but Judge Mensah told him today: “The jury saw through your lies.”

The court heard how, in Scotland in the late 1980s, Devlin had committed sexual assaults and rapes on a 14 year old boy and a 15 year old boy.

He had been jailed at Glasgow High Court before being released in the early 1990s.

At his trial in January of this year the jury heard how the 15 year old boy had got off a bus from school at around a quarter past three in the afternoon of Monday 16 October.

He was waiting by a telephone kiosk for a friend to arrive on a different school bus.

The victim’s statement was read out in court and in it he said: “A man walked up to me and asked if I had the time. I told him ‘no.’

“He walked up to where I was standing and he asked me to help him with his car. I said I would and he said it was five minutes down the road at Cardington and he would bring me back.”

The teenager told the police that they walked across a field and then a short distance along the road to Cardington where he was grabbed by the arm and pulled into bushes.

He said the attacker hit him lightly across the head when he said: “I don’t want this.”

When he tried to struggle he said he was told to calm down and was raped.

The crime remained unsolved but the following year Devlin was arrested for the rape of the 14 year old boy in the neighbouring county of Northamptonshire.

At the time, because of the similarities with the Bedfordshire incident the year before, Northants detectives contacted their colleagues in Bedford suggesting they might want to interview Devlin.

He was seen while in custody but denied attacking the boy and, at the time, it wasn’t possible to connect him through DNA.

Devlin went on to receive a life sentence at Northampton crown court for the rape of the 14 year old.

Judge Mensah was told he was released from that sentence in 2004, but recalled to prison in 2006 after it was discovered he had formed an inappropriate relationship with a young adult male.

March 2019

Rapist guilty of 1995 attack on boy in Bedford

A sex offender serving a life sentence has been convicted of raping a schoolboy more than 23 years ago.

James Devlin attacked the 15-year-old after first approaching him at a bus stop in Shortstown, near Bedford, in October 1995, Luton Crown Court heard.

Devlin, now 55, asked the boy if he would help him get his car started before pulling him into bushes and raping him.

The case was adjourned to 20 March for sentencing.

After the attack, the victim ran on to Cardington Road and flagged down a car with an elderly couple inside. They drove him to a friend’s house.

The friend’s mother said: “I found him crying outside the door.

“He said a man raped him and really hurt him.”

Last year, the police were led to Devlin after a DNA match was made. It was so strong, it could only have come from a handful of men in the UK.

At time of his arrest, Devlin was serving a life sentence for a similar rape of a boy in Northampton in 1996.

He was released from that sentence in 2004 but recalled to prison in 2006.

Devlin claimed there had been a mistake in the scientific evidence.

He shook his head in the dock as the jury found him guilty of rape.

Judge Barbara Mensah said: “He has not made a full and frank confession.

“It is going to be a very long sentence – double figures or life. I am concerned about the risk he poses.”