Peterborough rape accused will stand trial in Australia

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A Peterborough church-goer who was tracked by Interpol across the globe will be put on a flight to Australia to stand trial for a spate of alleged rapes.

Colin Simpson Henderson, (63), of Mayors Walk, Peterborough, is accused of tricking his way into three women’s houses by pretending he wanted to rent a room.

The attacks took place when he was living in Victoria, New South Wales, in the early 1980s, but he was not arrested at his home until last June.

Today, top judges at London’s High Court opened the way for his extradition, rejecting claims that he was too ill to put on a long haul flight.

Mr Justice Kenneth Parker said Henderson had lived in Australia until 1996 but for years there was nothing to link him to the rapes.

However, the cases were re-opened in 1992 because of a suspected link to a triple homicide and a sample of male DNA was recovered.

That was later sent to London via Interpol, but there the investigation stalled until 2012 when there was a cold case review.

The DNA sample was finally matched to Henderson, who accepted that he was living near Melbourne at the time of the attacks.

Challenging his extradition, his barrister, Emma Stuart-Smith, pointed to a dangerous lung condition which could leave him dependent on oxygen.

She told the judges that it would be ‘reckless’ to put him on a flight back to Australia to stand trial.

However, Mr Justice Parker said he was confident that the Australian authorities could be trusted to make special arrangements on the flight.

It was in the interests of Australian prosecutors that he arrived there in good condition, he added.

Miss Stuart-Smith also claimed that sending him back to Australia so many years after the alleged crimes would be ‘oppressive’.

As well as his poor health, she pointed to his close friendships and network of support in the UK, including at his local church which he attends regularly.

Mr Justice Parker, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens, accepted that Henderson would suffer ‘hardship’ on being uprooted from his life in England.

But Australia’s extradition request ‘fell very far short of oppression’ given the seriousness of his alleged offences, the judge ruled.

Henderson is accused of 58 offences relating to the three attacks, including rape, assault and aggravated burglary.