Mother who used Facebook to catch the brute who raped her at 13

Melinda Thomas, 42, was raped at age 13 by Orville Vaughan. Three decades later she found courage to report it to the police. They said she didn’t have enough evidence to charge perpetrator. She then used Facebook to gather information on rapist. Vaughan, 53, was arrested and sentenced to 17 years in jail.

Melinda Thomas was raped when she was 13 and recently used Facebook to help catch the criminal

Turning on the computer in the corner of her dining room, Melinda Thomas clicked on her Facebook home page.

But instead of sharing family photos or discussing holiday plans, her purpose was altogether more serious. She was investigating a sex attack.

‘Calling on all women from the Eighties and up to this day who may have been raped by a black male in the Swindon area… I am trying to get help for a rape that happened,’ she typed.

It only hinted at the horrific truth. The rape victim was Melinda, when she was just 13. After nearly three decades of keeping the crime a secret, she had found the courage to report it – only to be told by police they didn’t have enough evidence to charge the perpetrator.

Melinda decided to take matters into her own hands and her endeavours yielded a remarkable success.

Two strangers who saw the post contacted her to say they, too, had been raped. After providing details it transpired their attacker was the same man. Their accounts gave police the evidence they needed to arrest Orville Vaughan, 53, who was convicted last summer.

This June, two more of his victims emerged. Melinda has bravely waived her anonymity in a bid to persuade any further victims to come forward.


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