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A 25-year-old man was handed a life sentence on January 21, 2022, for the attempted murder of a woman in Northampton in 2020. He will serve a minimum of 18 years before a parole board considers if he is safe to be released.
At about 9pm on June 8, 2020, a 22-year old woman was shopping for food in
But as she made her way into Sainsbury’s and then Tesco Express, unbeknownst to her, a man had got off a bus and was following her.
It was Sean Shortland.
She left Tesco and proceeded to walk up Artizan Road and it was at this point that she felt his presence.
But before she could do anything, Shortland grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth and pulled her to the ground.
He then got on top of her, put his hands around her throat and proceeded to strangle her. Despite offering her phone and money to him, Shortland continued to try to kill her.
“I can still feel your hands around my neck,” the victim said, in her personal statement which was read out at sentencing. “It never escapes me.”
Thankfully, members of the public came to her aid and he ran off.
An investigation into the incident was quickly launched, led by DC Howes from Northampton CID, and after a number of inquiries, Shortland was arrested and charged.
The attack later proved to be completely random with neither Shortland nor the woman having met before.
At Northampton Crown Court earlier this year, he was rightly found guilty and given a life sentence with a minimum term of 18 years.
At the end of the case, His Honour Judge Mayo thanked DC Howes and commended her to the Chief Constable for her work on the investigation and support of the victim.
A Northampton man who raped a woman at knifepoint and evaded capture for years until he was arrested following a routine DNA swab is now behind bars.
Martin Twort, formerly of Byfield Road, St James, was jailed on December 16, 2021, for 12 years at Northampton Crown Court after being found guilty at a trial in October during which his victim was forced to give evidence.
The 31-year-old had denied the charge, but a jury found him unanimously guilty after less than three hours of deliberation.
A jury was told how the victim, who was then in her mid-40s, had been picked up by a man as she was walking home following a visit to Northampton General Hospital on June 10, 2012.
As she came out of a shop in central Northampton, a man in a car pulled over and asked her if she wanted a lift and, feeling unwell, she accepted.
She was then driven away, eventually arriving at a secluded spot somewhere between Moulton and Pitsford where, after resisting his attempts to kiss her, Twort produced a knife and threatened to kill her before dragging her from the car and violently raping her.
Twort warned his victim she would be killed if she went to the police.
A security guard at Moulton College eventually found the distressed and terrified victim wandering along a road at 2.10am the following day.
She had suffered a number of injuries, including extensive bruising across her body and while statutory DNA swabs were taken on recovered bodily fluids, they provided no matches on the database and the case went unsolved for a further five years.
In July 2017, however, Twort, who now lives in Great Yarmouth, was arrested on an unrelated theft matter.
While that investigation never reached court, a DNA swab was taken as part of the inquiry which matched that of the one taken during the rape investigation of 2012 and Twort was arrested.
In a victim impact statement, the woman described a scar on her forearm caused by the knife used in the attack as a ‘constant reminder of what took place in 2012’.
Sentencing him, Judge David Herbert QC said he would serve a minimum of eight years, adding that the offence had a number of aggravating factors including the use of a knife in a sustained attack and significant planning leading up to it.