A RAPIST was caught eight years after attacking an Oxford schoolgirl when a routine DNA swab for an unrelated matter linked him to the crime.

Daniel Barrett grabbed the 15-year-old girl as she walked in the Barracks Lane area of East Oxford in May 2004.

More than seven years later, Barrett was arrested for allegedly harassing his ex-wife, and a DNA sample was taken. When that was uploaded on to the police DNA database, the 34-year-old from Bretch Hill, Banbury, was linked to the unsolved rape and was arrested for it in February this year.

Barrett was jailed for nine-and-a-half years at Oxford Crown Court yesterday after admitting one count of rape.

The original incident took place at about 9.20am on Monday, May 17, 2004, as the girl, dressed in her school uniform, made her way to school.

Barrett grabbed her from behind, covered her mouth and dragged her to a secluded area.

Repeatedly telling her to shut up, Barrett also threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone about what was happening.

Having tried to kiss the girl, Barrett then raped her.

DNA evidence was taken from the girl’s mouth at the time and it was this that eventually led to her attacker’s capture.

Barrett initially told police the DNA evidence must be incorrect and previously entered a not-guilty plea to the charge.

He was due to stand trial on September 24, but yesterday changed his plea.

Speaking after the hearing, investigating officer Det Insp Kevin McGuire said: “I am pleased Barrett has finally admitted his appalling crime.

“His decision to plead guilty has come late in the day and been prompted by the wealth of evidence against him.

“However, it has spared the victim the ordeal of having to give evidence.”

He added: “This offence has had a terrible effect on the victim. At the age of 15 the course of her life was permanently altered by the actions of Barrett and she still lives day-to-day with the effects.

“I hope the sentence passed down today goes some way in helping her to move on with the rest of her life knowing that the man who so drastically affected it is now behind bars for a very long time.

“Today’s sentence also highlights the benefit of the DNA database. Investigations of this nature are never closed until the offender is caught and brought to justice.”