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Man jailed for 1995 sex attack; Victim speaks of relief that justice is done.

Byline: By Paul James Chief Reporter

A MOTHER who was held at knifepoint by a sex attacker 12 years ago last night told of her relief after he was finally brought to justice.

The victim, who was just 23 at the time, was speaking after Kenneth Herron was jailed for eight years at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was finally snared last year after forensic experts found a match to the saliva he left on a child's top that he used as a makeshift mask.

Herron walked in through the back door of the house in Killingworth, North Tyneside, in July 1995 and grabbed the jacket to cover his face, before grabbing a seven-inch kitchen knife and ordering the young mother to lie down.

A trial last month heard how he fled after hearing a car outside the house. Herron, a father-of-four of Eider Walk, Killingworth, denied the attempted rape but a jury took only 30 minutes to find him guilty at the end of a three-day trial.

Yesterday, the victim, now in her 30s, told other victims of sex attacks not to be afraid to come forward.

She said: "I would like to say that if any other women have been sexually assaulted or raped, and have not reported the incident to the police, to come forward and get help.

"I know how difficult this is, and the fear of reliving the horrific and terrifying experience is the hardest thing that you will ever have to do.

"If these types of crimes go unreported, sex offenders will continue to carry on assaulting innocent women. I cannot express enough my relief and satisfaction that after 12 years my family and I have got justice."

Herron was never traced after the attack despite a massive hunt by Northumbria Police. But last year the force's cold case review team, codenamed Operation Phoenix, used the sample from the clothing to match his billion-to-one profile.

Herron, now 35, claimed during the trial he went to rob the house, but fled without ever seeing the woman when he heard her in another room.

Jailing him yesterday, Judge John Evans told him: "You approached your victim and told her to get on the floor. You subjected her to what must have been a terrible and terrifying ordeal, at knife point.

"That she was not in fact actually raped was only due to your belief that someone was coming and you fled.

"It is clear this event has had a profound psychological effect on the victim and her family. You contested the case and forced the victim to relive the details of that terrible event."

Detective Inspector Tim Miley said: "The victim in this case has shown tremendous courage and strength since the time of the offence and in giving evidence which helped secure this conviction."

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GUILTY: Kenneth Herron who was jailed for eight years at Newcastle Crown Court.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2007
Words:483
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