Serial sex offender Ilija High was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Friday, August 25, for raping and attempting to rape three women in nature reserves in Derby.
The 23-year-old, of Autumn Grove, Chaddesden, admitted raping a woman in a nature reserve in Darley Abbey, and attempting to rape two women in separate attacks in the same nature reserve in Spondon.
His attacks sent shockwaves through the city and led to one of the biggest manhunts we’ve launched in several years.
He was caught after a high profile campaign in which our officers and staff, the media and the public all teamed up to catch him.
Now, we want to show you how it was done.
Catching a Criminal - the series
Catching a Criminal is a new short documentary series we’ve produced, to give you a behind-the-scenes look into how serious cases are cracked, starting with Ilija High.
This series will be split into six episodes of about six minutes in length, and will be posted exclusively on our Facebook page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel amd here on our website.
Featured content includes an exploration of how our quick-thinking crime scene investigators managed to link two of the attacks, by lifting DNA from a piece of pink bubblegum. We also take a look at the moment detectives discovered a third attack, and how that changed the focus of the investigation, triggering a massive publicity campaign to try and catch the offender.
Our hope is that, by giving people an insight into how we work and the many detection methods we have at our fingertips, we will give people the confidence to report crime to us.
We also want the series to show how important it is for people to come forward with information or suspicions they have when we make public appeals. Without that community intelligence, it’s possible Ilija High would still be at large today.
View the series on our YouTube playlist, which is available below.
Help and advice
We also want this series to encourage people to report crime, and to have the confidence to talk to us about their suspicions when we make appeals for information.
Some of the content in this series may be distressing for viewers. If you feel affected by any of the topics under discussion here, you will find a wealth of information available.
We have specially trained officers who are on hand to speak to people who may be victims of sexual offences. But it’s not just police who can help - there are also a huge number of independent charities and partner agencies for those who don’t want to speak to an officer.
Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence (also known as SV2)
Tel: 01773 746 115
(weekdays 9am to 5pm)
Tel: 116 123
Tel: 0800 1111
You can find out more about the support available by visiting the specially created Sexual Assault Support Hub, which is a national bank of information housed on our website and can be found at www.derbyshire.police.uk/SASH