A lack of evidence meant the initial case against Paul Tripp, originally from Leighton Buzzard, was discontinued, but Bedfordshire Police’s dedicated Op Maze burglary squad pursued their investigation to gain justice for the victim, who had been grabbed around the neck and assaulted.
The woman, who was asleep in the living room of her flat in Old Bedford Road at around 7am on May 9, 2020, was woken by a man, who had entered through an open window.
She challenged the man, later identified as Tripp, aged 46, of Albert Road, Luton, who told her he was from the letting agency and had been sent to take a gas meter reading.
She asked Tripp to leave and when he refused, she grabbed him. The altercation ended in Tripp leaning over her and squeezing her neck.
Tripp eventually let go and left through the front door. The victim then called the police who circulated the description of the suspect.
A few hours later, a member of the public called in and gave a description of a man in People’s Park, Luton. Police located Tripp and arrested him on suspicion of burglary and actual bodily harm.
While he was charged, Tripp’s case was eventually discontinued at court due to lack of evidence.
However, Bedfordshire Police's dedicated burglary team believed they had their suspect and when Tripp was arrested again in connection to another burglary, Maze officers used new DNA samples to match it to a swab taken from the victim in the Old Bedford Road offence.
Tripp, described as a serial offender, is already serving two years and eight months for the attempted burglary on a Luton vicarage twice in two days, and on Wednesday (20 April) at Luton Crown Court he had his sentence extended by two years.
Detective Constable Andy Boston, from the Op Maze burglary team, said: “Despite the dropped charges in the first instance, we persevered to get the victim the justice she deserved.
“This demonstrates the attitude we have at Bedfordshire Police; we strive to bring offenders to justice against the odds and will never give up on getting prolific criminals off our streets.”