A man who raped two women in the 1980s has been caught more than three decades later after urinating in a neighbour’s plant pot.
Eric McKenna, 60, carried out separate street attacks in Gateshead and Newcastle in the 1980s but his crimes went unsolved until 2016.
The first attack took place in April 1983 when McKenna raped a 21-year-old woman as she walked home near to the High Level Bridge in Gateshead.
The victim reported her ordeal to the police but officers could not identify her attacker.
Five years later, he struck again in the Manors area of Newcastle, but police did not link the crimes and McKenna was not identified.
In 2016, Northumbria Police neighbourhood officers arrested him for urinating in a neighbour’s plant pot following a dispute and he was cautioned for harassment.
When his DNA was processed, exact matches were made for the two historical rapes.
McKenna, of Clarewood Court, Newcastle, “did not flinch” when he was challenged over the rapes, Detective Constable Mick Wilson said.
He was jailed for 23 years following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Northumbria Police said it had apologised to the two victims and said they had not been properly supported when they first reported their crimes in the 1980s.
DC WIlson said: “This is a very unusual case that stretches back more than 30 years but I am delighted to be stood here today knowing that this man is now behind bars.
“In the 1980s we did not have the same forensic techniques available that we do now and we have secured a conviction thanks to those developments.
“McKenna thought he had got away with his crimes but a neighbourly dispute and a moment of stupidity has landed him in prison for 23 years.”