The victim, then only 19, had stormed out of her boyfriend’s house in Stannington after a row and was walking along a secluded road in the Rivelin Valley known locally as a lovers’ lane when she was attacked.
Seized by a beer-bellied prowler, the woman was dragged into a nearby farmer’s field and raped.
After the attack, the victim staggered through the rain for several hundred yards before two night fishermen came to her aid.
Police appealed for witnesses to the attack and by the following day officers had produced a sketch of the suspect.
The attacker had a full beard, was wearing glasses and was thought to be in his mid-to-late 30s.
But despite a huge police investigation at the time the case went cold...for 17 years.
In 2006 a man was arrested outside a care home in Sheffield for performing an indecent act triggering a sequence of events which saw her rapist - Kevin Shaw - finally put behind bars.
Shaw, who was recently married and a father-to-be at the time of the 1989 attack, was caught by police despite trying to evade justice.
He was convicted of the indecency offence in his absence after failing to attend court on 10 occasions and his DNA profile was added to the national DNA database.
Months later - and by pure chance - staff working on South Yorkshire Police’s cold case review team reopened the investigation into the Stannington rape.
At the time Det Sgt Ian Harding, from the team, said although the original police file had been destroyed, DNA taken at the time of the rape from the victim’s clothes had been archived at the Forensic Science Service’s UK warehouse.
When the rapist’s DNA from 1989 was entered into the national database, Kevin Shaw’s name popped up - he was a match.
Shaw pleaded not guilty and went on trial at Sheffield Crown Court in May 2008.
A jury found him guilty and after conviction police released his mugshot to the media. It bore an uncanny resemblance to the sketch of the wanted rapist issued to The Star in 1989.
Speaking after Shaw was jailed for 12 years, following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court, DS Harding said: “It was very lucky that his DNA was on there. We would have been struggling otherwise. He hadn’t ever been suspected in this case so if he hadn’t been sampled we may not have found him.”
At his trial the rapist, who lived in Bamford, Derbyshire, claimed he was renovating a house in Popple Street, Firth Park, in 1989 which is why he was in Sheffield.
DS Harding said Shaw had previously made a living renovating property and offering mortgage and financial advice. He later appealed his 12-year sentence and it was reduced to nine years.
Shaw was snared by South Yorkshire Police’s original cold case review team which was set up in 2007 to review serious unsolved sex crimes.
The team of five, including DS Harding, was disbanded in 2014 but was made up of retired detectives who were re-employed as civilian investigators. They enjoyed considerable success, putting 12 men, who thought they’d got away with their crimes, behind bars.
A new Major Incident Review team now looks into unsolved sex cases and murders.