the two victims suffered "devastating psychological damage"
Prem Chandra, aged 49, of Bedford, was jailed on September 1, 2020, for two rapes he committed during the 1990s.
He had evaded capture for years due to a “breakdown in communication” between authorities.
Chandra raped a teenage girl in 1996 and a 26-year-old woman a year later.
At the time of the attacks, there was no DNA match for Chandra. However, a sample was taken in 2009 when he was arrested for battery.
Forensic science services linked it to two rape cases but police were seemingly not told.
Prosecutor Peter Shaw said: “The scientific services found a match in 2009, but there was a breakdown in the chain of communication.”
He said police had no record of receiving such a notification.
The rapes were later carried out under Operation Painter, which is a review of undetected rapes and sexual offences which occurred between 1974 and 1999.
Chandra was eventually arrested on March 18, 2018.
Luton Crown Court heard that Chandra, formerly known as Putal Nath, plied a 14-year-old girl with whisky and coke before she was raped by him and other men on June 25, 1996.
On July 30, 1997, the second victim had mistakenly boarded a train to Bedford after a party in London.
She accepted a lift from a group of men, including Chandra, who raped her.
Chandra pleaded guilty to the two rapes in January 2020.
During mitigation, it was heard that Chandra “had not been the instigator or ring leader” in the two gang attacks and he was a “very different person” now.
Judge Andrew Bright said the two victims suffered “devastating psychological damage, with profound impact on their lives”.
Chandra was sentenced to nine years in prison for each offence, to run concurrently.
Detective Inspector Emma Pitts, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said:
“Chandra remained a free man for such a long period of time, while his victims have continued to live with their horrific ordeals.”
“He has now been brought to justice for these abhorrent crimes, and I’d like to thank his victims for their continued bravery and assistance in bringing the cases to court.
“I sincerely hope today’s sentencing will give them some form of closure.
“The jailing of Chandra shows it is never too late to report a sexual assault. We always take such reports incredibly seriously and will do all we can to investigate.”
Chandra is the fifth person to be jailed under Operation Painter, which was launched in 2016.