Rapist jailed for Cumbria assaults after more than 30 years on the run in Ireland

Rapist jailed for Cumbria assaults after more than 30 years on the run in Ireland

A MAN who fled to Ireland more than 30 years ago after being accused of rape and indecent assault has been jailed.

Michael Connors, 48, also known as John Connors, of Donegal, Ireland was this week sentenced to four years at Carlisle Crown Court after pleading guilty to the charges.

Connors, a married father-of-seven, absconded from a hearing at the same court in November 1990.

Detective Sergeant Jim Grattan of Cumbria Constabulary said: “No matter how much time has passed, serious sexual assaults will not be tolerated by Cumbria Constabulary and we will do everything within our power to hold them accountable for their actions and bring them to justice.”

The offences relate to incidents in May 1990 in Distington when Connors, then aged 17, attacked two 15-year-old girls, raping one and indecently assaulting another.

Connors’ DNA was recovered from the clothing of one of his victims and he was picked out of an identity parade.

However he protested his innocence and provided a different name and date of birth before absconding.

He was finally brought to justice when his DNA matched a sample on an EU-wide database that had been taken from Connors after he was arrested for a minor offence.

“I’d like to thank the victims for their bravery, this has been ongoing for the last 30 years and today justice has been finally given and hopefully gives them closure,” said Detective Sergeant Grattan.

“Every effort was made to identify Connors, who gave his name as John Connors in 1990 but didn’t provide a correct date of birth.

“In 2019 a match was found in Ireland for a Michael Connors.

“Connors was arrested and brought to custody in Carlisle.”

He added: “I would encourage anyone who has been victim to a sexual offence to contact police so that our officers can investigate.

“You will be supported throughout our investigation.”