Northolt 'Predator' Jailed 38 Years After Knifepoint Sex Attack

Ian Harmer assaulted 13-year-old boy by Basingstoke Canal in 1982


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Ian Harmer - pic Surrey Police

A man from Northolt has been jailed 38 years after sexually assaulting a teenage boy at knifepoint.

Ian David Harmer, 63, of Aspen Lane, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, reduced to 11 years after he pleaded guilty, when he appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Wed 19th February.

The victim was walking along the tow path next to the Basingstoke Canal around mid-morning on 26 April 1982 when Harmer engaged him in conversation, asking him if he had seen his dog.

Harmer said he had a knife and the victim immediately felt pressure in his lower back leading him to believe Harmer was telling the truth. Harmer then directed the teenager into woodland next to the tow path where he conducted the serious assault.

Harmer made off after telling the boy to count to a certain number before getting up. The teenager ran home and told his parents what had happened, and they reported it to police.

Police say although a thorough investigation was carried out at the time, Harmer was not identified. However, the case was kept under regular review and in 2016, with the development of new forensic techniques, samples taken from the victim were compared to profiles held on the national DNA database and came up with a match for Harmer.

Officers tracked him down and he was arrested and charged him with a serious sexual offence in February 2017.

Detective Inspector Paddy Mayers, who led the investigation, said: “Harmer was a dangerous predator who took advantage of an innocent teenage boy in broad daylight. The victim was left severely traumatised by his ordeal and has had to endure more than 35 years of thinking his attacker would never be caught.

“Fortunately, when the case was reviewed in 2016, the advances in forensic techniques meant that samples taken from the victim at the time could be compared to profiles held on the national DNA database and Harmer was identified as being responsible.

“This has enabled us to finally bring him to justice for the heinous crime he committed that day and will hopefully allow the victim to begin to move on with his life.

“Harmer thought he had got away with it, but this case demonstrates that no matter how long ago a crime took place, we will never give up in our pursuit to bring the person responsible to justice.”



February 20, 2020


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