September 2004

Serial rapist jailed for 15 years

A Newcastle man has been jailed for 15 years for two rapes committed more than 20 years ago.

Ernest John Wallace, 60, of Newcastle, admitted the crimes and was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.

One of his victims was 11 years old when she was attacked in 1981 waiting for a bus home after spending a Sunday afternoon visiting her grandfather.

Wallace was caught after evidence from the scene was revisited as part of Operation Phoenix.

DNA profile

His 11-year-old victim was grabbed from behind, dragged into a park and raped in an attack so vicious she bit her arm to suppress the pain.

She has never forgotten her ordeal and although she cannot be identified, she put her feelings into words: “I hate this guy for what he put me through.

“For the past 23 years he’s led a normal life but thanks to Operation Phoenix everyone now knows what an animal he is.”

Northumbria Police’s Operation Phoenix uses DNA profiling to solve sex attacks committed in the 70s and 80s.

Wallace was arrested and a prosecution case was already being prepared against him when further work by the Operation Phoenix team linked him to the 1977 rape of a 19-year-old in the nurses’ home at the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Wallace was sentenced to 20 years, 15 of them in prison and five on extended licence, and ordered to be put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.