Theresa May: ‘Three-month manhunt for Leeds rapist could have taken 15 minutes’

West Yorkshire Police handout image dated 10/7/2015 of Zdenko Turtak in a custody cell at Leeds' Elland Road Police Station after his arrest. He has been given a 20-year extended sentence at Leeds Crown Court for the brutal rape of an 18-year-old woman he dragged from a bus-stop, battered repeatedly with a rock and then left for dead. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday October 20, 2015. His victim was left with severe injuries after she was dragged behind a hedge and battered 18 times with a rock. See PA story COURTS Rapist Police. Photo credit should read: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
West Yorkshire Police handout image dated 10/7/2015 of Zdenko Turtak in a custody cell at Leeds' Elland Road Police Station after his arrest. He has been given a 20-year extended sentence at Leeds Crown Court for the brutal rape of an 18-year-old woman he dragged from a bus-stop, battered repeatedly with a rock and then left for dead. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday October 20, 2015. His victim was left with severe injuries after she was dragged behind a hedge and battered 18 times with a rock. See PA story COURTS Rapist Police. Photo credit should read: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
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The home Secretary claims the three-month, £250,000 manhunt for a Slovakian rapist who left a woman for dead in Leeds could have taken just “15 minutes” through better DNA sharing.

Theresa May wants MPs to back moves for the UK to opt in to the so-called Prum Decisions – a system designed to make it easier for EU countries to share DNA, fingerprints and vehicle information.

Mrs May used the example of Zdenko Turtak, who was given a 20-year sentence in October for the rape and grievous bodily harm of an 18-year-old in Beeston in March.

Having fled to Slovakia, 22-year-old Turtak was only caught when DNA recovered from the victim was matched to that found at the scene of a burglary in his native country.

It concluded a three-month investigation involving more than 100 officers that was the biggest West Yorkshire Police had conducted since the search for Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews in 2008.

Mrs May said: “If the United Kingdom and Slovakia had been connected through the Prüm system, that initial hit, instead of taking two-and-a-half months, would have taken 15 minutes.

“Just think of the time and money that would have saved the police, not to mention the benefit to the victim of knowing that her attacker would be brought to justice.”

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, backed the Prum system, saying Mrs May had “hit the nail on the head”.

He said: “It makes absolute sense. As time moves forward, we are going to get more and more offenders coming from other countries.”

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