A man has pleaded guilty to breaking into the home of a Collingbourne Ducis woman and raping her in the 1980s.

Kenneth Wells, 63, of Verona Road, Salisbury, appeared at Salisbury Crown Court on September 1 and pleaded guilty to the burglary, rape and false imprisonment of 71-year-old Violet Brown. The 63-year-old, who was 22 at the time, broke into her home and raped her in her bedroom before locking her into the property.

The cold case was reopened by Wiltshire Police last summer, which led to his arrest in June. Violet Brown will never see her rapist face justice, having passed away in February 1996.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Darren Hannant, from the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “There is no doubt that this horrendous attack had a lasting impact on Ms Brown, who had to live with the memory of this traumatic incident for the rest of her life. She was never comfortable in her own home after the attack and moved out a short time later; the effect on her quality of life was significant.

“Despite the fact that she is no longer alive, she has been at the forefront of all of our minds throughout this investigation, and we have been determined to crack this case to finally ensure the man responsible was arrested and convicted.”

The shocking events occurred on November 6 1980, when Violet Brown, who lived alone, was woken in the early hours by the sound of Wells breaking into the house and coming into her bedroom.

He then raped her before leaving the property and locking her inside, leaving her unable to able to alert her neighbours and the police until the morning.

Wells was arrested shortly after the incident and remained the prime suspect, but there was never enough evidence to lead to a charge. However, the file remained with Wiltshire Police and was re-examined over the years to see if there were any potential new leads.

Last summer, officers from the Major Crime Team reopened the cold case and re-examined the original investigation. After a detailed re-investigation, and using the latest in DNA technology, they were able to confirm a direct match between the evidence recovered from the original scene and Kenneth Wells.

On 29 June 2021, he was arrested at his home address in Salisbury, and subsequently charged with burglary, rape and false imprisonment.

Wells, 63, has been remanded in custody ahead of his sentencing on Friday 1 October.