Philip Spriggs – formerly of Hillsale Piece, Littlemore

Dangerous predator jailed for terrifying sex attack on Oxford schoolgirl 30 years ago. 

A DANGEROUS sex offender has been brought to justice three decades after a petrifying attack on a schoolgirl.

Predator Philip Spriggs was finally linked to the attempted rape in Pullens Lane, Headington, after his DNA was matched to samples taken from his young victim’s clothing at the time.

The 52-year-old former council worker, formerly of Hillsale Piece, Littlemore, was yesterday jailed for 12 years at Oxford Crown Court, after being convicted by a jury last week.

During the trial the court heard that Spriggs, who is already serving a lengthy prison sentence for a string of sex offences first committed in 2007, pounced on the girl from behind before attempting to rape her on January 30, 1986.

Officers took DNA samples at the time of the 80s attack but were unable to find a match.

When Spriggs was jailed in 2015, for various charges including rape and sexual assault, his DNA was placed on a national police database. Once detectives reviewed the Headington case they received the result.

It was not revealed in court whether Spriggs had been convicted of other offences during the intervening years between 1986 and 2007.

But Pete Beirne, head of TVP’s major crime review team revealed to the Oxford Mail that Spriggs had been a ‘danger throughout his adult life’.

He couldn’t confirm if officers were linking him to other unsolved sex offences before he came to the attention of police for his 2015 convictions.

Back then he was jailed for a total of 17 years, with a seven-year extended licence, for 19 sex offences dating from 2007 to 2014.

In that case the judge said Spriggs refused to accept the damage he had done to his victims.

It took jurors less than an hour to unanimously convict Spriggs of attempted rape following the trial last week.

They heard Spriggs, who then lived in Stanway Road, Oxford, hid in bushes before pouncing on his victim as she walked through a wooded area.

He dragged her to the floor, pinned her down and put his hand over her mouth as he tried to rape her.

In a statement read to the court yesterday the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she didn’t feel police believed her at the time and that one officer treated her ‘really badly’.

She said the experience ‘dented’ her confidence in the police and ‘compounded her distress’.

The woman went on to say the review into her case made her realise ‘the police have changed’, adding: “I am still wary, as it is not going to undo the pain from the last 30 years of how I was treated.”

Mr Beirne said officers in the original investigation were unable to find a DNA match at the time.

Defence barrister Stefan Weidmann yesterday told Judge Ian Pringle QC there was ‘almost no’ mitigation he could offer the court before sentence.

Spriggs, now of HMP Woodhill, will serve the 12-year sentence after he has completed the remaining 11 years and four months for his 2015 convictions.

Mr Beirne said he hoped it sent a message to others who think they have escaped justice.

He added: “Spriggs, along with other people with convictions for serious sexual offences, will be considered when we are re-investigating unresolved cases.

“[The sentence] sends a message to offenders that potentially think they have gotten away with it, that we will do all that we can to try to bring them before the courts.”

Police spokesman James Williams last night said the welfare of victims remained a priority for officers, adding: “The force is committed to tackling sexual offences and reviewing serious historic offences via our major crime review team.

“We are pleased that Phillip Spriggs has finally been brought to justice for the attempted rape of a young girl in 1986, however we apologise that at the time the victim felt she was not believed by the police officer who visited her and should have supported her.

“The welfare of victims is our priority. We now have dedicated police officers and work with other agencies to support victims of crime, but unfortunately this practice was not commonplace in 1986.

“We hope that cases like this give victims the confidence to come forward and to speak to the police so we can investigate offences.

“The victim in this case has shown immense bravery and has been supported by our major crime review team throughout the reinvestigation.

“We hope the victim feels a sense of justice that the perpetrator has finally been convicted and sentenced for his heinous crime.”


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