Man, 60, sentenced to life for violent sex assault of 16-year-old girl

A man has been sentenced to life for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1987.


The 60-year-old man was handed his sentence today. He will serve a minimum term of eight years after pleading guilty to rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment of the young woman in her Swindon home – almost 30 years ago.

David John Mears, aged 60, from Plymouth, was charged on Thursday 21 April 2016, with the offences, which took place on Wednesday 12 August 1987.

Mears broke into the house where the 16-year-old victim was staying, blindfolded her before violently sexually assaulting her. An investigation was launched at the time, but no one was convicted, until now.

Following a detailed review of this cold case, officers from the Brunel Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT) identified new lines of enquiry in relation to the incident through the use of modern forensic methods which were not available to officers back in 1987.

As a result of advances in technology, officers arrested Mears in April and today he appeared at Swindon Crown Court for sentencing.

Detective Sergeant Liz Coles said: “I welcome today’s sentencing, which is the result of hard work by our team of officers who resurrected the cold case, re-examined the DNA evidence and used state-of-the-art, modern technology to identify the man responsible for this horrific attack.

“I hope that today’s sentencing sends a strong and clear message out to the public in Wiltshire that we will pursue any report of sexual assault and we will do everything in our power to secure a conviction.

“The victim has been our priority throughout the investigation – she has showed an admirable amount of courage and bravery in supporting the investigation to ensure justice is served. The events of 12 August 1987 have undoubtedly had a devastating impact on her for the past 29 years but I hope today’s sentencing helps bring some sort of closure on the ordeal – an ordeal which nobody should ever have to endure.”

Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual assault is encouraged to report it to police on 101 or call the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) on 0808 168 0024 for independent specialist support.