Operation Scorch: Man given 20 year extended prison sentence for rape in Riverside Park, Southampton
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Jozef Janczura, aged 34 of Laburnum Road, Southampton has been given a 20 year extended sentence today (31 January) for raping and assaulting an 18-year-old woman in Riverside Park in Southampton on December 2, 2018.
More than a year after this terrible crime happened to a young woman, a Jury at Southampton Crown Court delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty on both counts on December 11, 2019.
Appearing at court today to be sentenced, the judge handed Janczura a 20 year extended prison sentence for the brutal attack.
The sentence comes after the woman reported that whilst she was walking along Woodmill Lane in December 2018, a man unknown to her grabbed her neck and raped her in a wooded area in Riverside Park between the skate park and tennis courts.
Officers investigating the case immediately launched an appeal for witnesses including residential CCTV and dash cam footage.
The woman was supported by specialist officers and forensic evidence obtained was sent off for fast track analysis. On Dec 7, officers found out that the DNA found did not match any other DNA on the national police database. Following this news, an extensive CCTV strategy was planned alongside consultation with the National Crime Agency in a bid to identify the man responsible.
The first breakthrough in the case happened when Detectives tracked a man on CCTV from outside the Sainsbury’s Local on Burgess Road, down Langhorn Road and onto Woodmill Lane and then Wessex Lane at 11.32pm, just before the offence occurred.
Janczura following an unidentified woman
The footage showed a man following another woman at first. He noticed a woman, who has never since been identified, on Burgess Road and then appeared to follow her onto Wessex Lane, where he lost her and doubled backed on himself. The footage revealed he then began to follow the 18-year-old woman. Moments later, she was raped by him in Riverside Park.
Janczura following the victim
The footage was dark and grainy and it was impossible to get a clear facial image of the man detectives needed to trace, which meant officers were no closer to identifying the offender from footage alone.
Following an extensive CCTV haul, Hampshire Constabulary's Major Crime Team devised a DNA screening strategy based on where they had seen the suspect on various CCTV cameras, both commercial and residential, on the evening the offence. Officers noticed the man on CCTV three times in the locality of the Flowers Estate. It would involve visiting hundreds of houses in the local area to try and identify him.
The plan was to ask for samples of DNA from male residents who were not DNA confirmed on the national database. Officers had a full DNA profile of the suspect and this had been compared to those on the national police system. As none of them were a match, it was not necessary to further take DNA from men already confirmed on the database.
The man they were looking for was described as white and more than 30-years-old. Therefore the parameters for the DNA collection was to seek and eliminate males aged between 20 and 50-years-old either living, staying at, visiting or frequenting the addresses in the area defined by the strategy. Officers visiting each address were to identify men that fit the criteria, and ask for a DNA sample. It was decided that if anyone refused give a sample, that they would be asked to account for their movements on the night of the offence, what clothing they were wearing that night, what phone they had with them and whether they were using any vehicle, and allow officers to take a picture of them.
No one refused.
In total, 137 DNA samples were taken.
On March 5 the lab came back with results for a match.
Jozef Janczuza was identified as the person giving the DNA that matched the DNA in the case.
He was arrested and his DNA was taken again and tested. He was then charged with rape and assault on March 6.
Today, he has been given a 20 year extended prison sentence.
In sentencing, the Judge Peter Henry said to Janczura: "There was clearly planning on your behalf. There is evidence you were hunting for a lone female that night.
"You knew perfectly well what you were doing was wrong and wicked."
Janczura was sentenced to 14 years for the rape with an extended license period of six years.
He was sentenced to three years for the assault, to run concurrently.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Roger Wood said: “This was a violent attack against a young woman who was out walking through the Woodmill Lane area of Southampton.
"Understandably this was an incredibly traumatic ordeal for the victim and I would like to commend her on her bravery and courage, which has helped secure this verdict against a very dangerous man. I hope this sentence will go some way towards her helping her start to move forward with her life.
"This investigation shows the capability of Hampshire Constabulary’s Major Crime Team to find a dangerous offender in the community. We, along with support from our colleagues in specialist teams, were determined to find the man responsible and we would have stopped at nothing to find him. The significance of forensic evidence is undeniable, which is why we have been able to bring Janczura to justice.
"In cases such as these, we work in partnership with the Independent Sexual Violence Advocate Service, Yellow Door to ensure adequate support is available victims throughout investigations. We hope that the strength of this partnership working alongside convictions like this such, encourage victims to come forward and report their experiences to us.”