Sex attacker who tried to rape Chigwell au pair in 1992 is finally jailed

A sex attacker who cheated justice for nearly 20 years after dragging a teenage au pair to the ground and trying to rape her has been jailed.

Stephen Henkel, 57, ambushed his 18-year-old victim as she walked home alone from Woodford Tube station, Snakes Lanes West, Woodford Green in 1992.

But her attacker went undetected for nearly two decades until police launched a cold case review and found traces of his DNA in blood stains on the woman’s jacket.

Henkel denied attempted rape and indecent assault but was convicted and jailed yesterday for six years and three months after a short trial at the Old Bailey.

In a statement read to the court, his victim, now aged 38, said: “I have never forgotten what this man did to me and the trust I had in people has gone.


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“He is an animal and there is no way he should be treated like a human being. What he did to me was disgusting and although I wouldn’t allow him to ruin my life, he has changed it beyond comprehension.”

Henkel’s victim had come to live in the UK from her native Denmark and was heading to her home in Chigwell late on June 25.

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Prosecutor Toyin Salako said she was pushed to the ground after hearing a man’s footsteps behind her.

Henkel is said to have tried to force her legs apart, telling her: “I don’t want to hurt you, I just want to have sex.”

When she screamed, he put his hand over her mouth before attempting to kiss her.

He later tried to pull her over a barbed wire fence into a field and, when she fought back, punched her in the face repeatedly.

Henkel ran off when he thought he could hear somebody else approaching.

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