Christchurch Star story here
From The Press
A rape victim who waited 12 years for her attacker to be snared by dna says she led police to him six months after the ordeal – and nothing was done.
Sarah, a Christchurch woman whose name has been changed to protect her identity, was brutalised in June, 1992, on an inner-city street. She was 19, a tiny redhead who weighed just 45kg. The man who pounced from the shadows was ruthless. He bashed Sarah repeatedly, tore off her skirt and tights, bit deeply into her lip, applied a choke hold, and growled, "F. . . up. If you let me rape you, I'll let you go." When it was over, she managed to break loose, and ran to a taxi at traffic lights nearby.
Sarah says she saw the man who raped her, Rodney Pouaka, in a city bar about six months after the attack but police did not turn up when they were alerted. "I was spewing," she said this week, after Pouaka was finally sentenced to seven years in jail for the rape. Sarah was "90 per cent" sure the man she locked eyes with in the bar was Pouaka. "My heart stopped for about 30 seconds. He looked at me and I looked at him and just went, `whoa'."
Sarah asked a bartender to call the police officer investigating the rape. She then fled, having been assured by the staff member that police were "on their way". A friend of Sarah's stayed to point out the rape suspect, but two hours later, no one had turned up. Detective Jason Stewart, who took up the case but was not involved with the original inquiry, found no reference to the alleged sighting or telephone call in the files he inherited.
"I can't say whether (police) attended or not. I can't even say whether they were called or not," Mr Stewart said. "I would imagine if the police were called they would have attended." The detective who led the 1992 hunt has left the police and is thought to be living overseas.
Pouaka, now 61 and unemployed, was caught when forensic scientists matched a sample of his dna to semen recovered from Sarah and the crime scene. The sample was supplied by Pouaka during an investigation into an alleged sexual molestation this year. He was acquitted of the charge in September. His dna was compared with a police database of evidence from the scenes of unsolved crimes. Pouaka initially denied the rape, then, confronted with the dna link, claimed it was consensual sex. Later he pleaded guilty.
Today, at 31, Sarah is a housebound sole parent, plagued by flashbacks. "Every now and then I just lose it.... Half the time I lock myself in the bedroom and cry."
Pouaka could have been jailed for more than seven years, had the judge not had to apply the softer sentencing range of the early 90s. "Since it's been 12 years I've had to suffer, they could have at least given him that," Sarah said. "I hope he dies in jail. I don't want to see him out again."
Date of Birth
1943 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to seven years in December 2004
Eligible for parole April 2007
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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