Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/10/2019 (817 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A DNA match has led to the arrest of a designated dangerous offender for a sexual assault that occurred more than 12 years ago in Winnipeg’s North End.
On May 8, 2007, a 27-year-old woman was in the area of Flora Avenue and Robinson Street when a man approached her on a bicycle, pulled out a knife and forced her into a back lane, where he sexually assaulted her. The suspect fled on his bicycle.
A sample of human biological material was collected to be sent to the RCMP’s forensics lab to create a profile for the unknown suspect in the National DNA Data Bank of Canada. In January, local police were notified of a match.
On Friday, the Winnipeg Police Service said 55-year-old Douglas Wayne Bowman — who has at least three previous rape convictions — has been charged with sexual assault with a weapon and uttering threats.
"A lot of sexual-assault victims second guess whether or not they should go to the police, whether or not they should tell their story," said Const. Tammy Skrabek. "For the victim and others in similar situations, it’s a positive step."
Bowman’s latest charges will result in the city's police force sorting through old cases with similar patterns of victimization, Skrabek said, adding the last thing police want is for victims to give up hope.
In July, police issued an arrest warrant for Bowman. It was executed in October, and arrangements were made to have the suspect transferred to Manitoba from Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary (outside Prince Albert), where he was serving a 2018 sentence.
He was arrested Oct. 23, and has since been returned to federal custody.
"All the time, we’re looking at closure for the victims and making those arrests — preferably in a more timely manner, but in any case, it's getting someone responsible for such a horrific attack on women," Skrabek said.
The national DNA database contains samples of fingernail scrapings, hair, skin, blood and other bodily fluids. In 2018-19, the bank helped match a convicted offender to a crime scene 6,583 times.
It is unclear what DNA evidence linked Bowman to the crime; however, Skrabek did confirm the match surfaced because federal convicts are required to submit a DNA sample.
In 2018, Bowman was convicted of sexually assaulting two Winnipeg sex-trade workers in separate incidents dating back almost a decade.
In a 2010 incident, Bowman cut the back of the woman’s neck with a sharp object and threatened to kill her before she was able to flee. In 2013, he pepper-sprayed the victim and held a knife to her stomach before he raped her in the back of his minivan.
Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey declared Bowman a dangerous offender, sentenced him to 14 years in prison (minus six years credit for time-served) and ordered he be subject to a 10-year supervision order upon his release from custody.
In 1983, while a youth, Bowman was also sentenced as an adult to six years in prison for rape.
"Bowman has demonstrated a pattern of repetitive behaviour illustrative of a failure to restrain his conduct and of a likelihood to cause death or injury to other persons, or to inflict severe psychological damage on other persons, through his failure, in the future, to restrain his behaviour," McKelvey said at the 2018 sentencing.
"Further, he has demonstrated a pattern of persistent aggressive behaviour... illustrating a substantial degree of indifference with respect to the reasonably foreseeable consequences to other persons of his behaviour."
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.