B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Abbotsford News file photo)

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

A Vancouver Island man has been convicted of a 1999 sexual assault in which he choked and threatened to kill a 21-year-old woman who was walking back to her car after an outdoor music festival in Abbotsford.

James Allen Redden, 50, was convicted last week in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster of all three offences with which he had been charged: sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering threats.

The former Nanaimo resident’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 9.

The assault took place on Aug. 7, 1999, when more than 1,000 people attended the 11th annual Sumas Mountain Happening rock festival, where bands such as Nickelback, Jar, New Big Shoes and Pleasure performed.

The festival took place on an 11.5-acre private property in the 37200 block of Ward Road. Bushes lined the long walk from where festival-goers parked their vehicles to where the concert venue was located.

READ ALSO: Abbotsford Police lay charges in 1999 sexual assault

READ ALSO: DNA from clothing key to cold case rape trial

Sometime around midnight, the victim walked back to her vehicle and was grabbed, dragged into the woods and sexually assaulted.

She was choked to the point where she nearly lost consciousness, and she was threatened with death.

Evidence was gathered following the attack, but the case remained unsolved until December 2013.

At that time, the officer who first investigated the case re-opened the file and sent clothing obtained from the scene for DNA analysis.

In early 2014, a DNA profile was discovered and a suspect was identified.

Before then, there was no match because the suspect was not in the DNA database.

It then took some additional time for police to gather further evidence to back up their case, leading to the charges being laid against Redden on Dec. 17, 2015.

Redden’s trial began in February of this year.

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