Robert John Hall put a knife to the throat of a prostitute he hired, then blindfolded and raped her for half an hour without a condom.
For 23 years he evaded capture, starting a family and a business, until his past finally caught up with him when he drove away from a petrol station without paying.
His DNA matched samples taken from the woman's vagina after the 1990 rape in a Kiama, NSW, motel room and he was finally put on trial last year.
Hall argued the sex was consensual but a jury in November convicted him of two counts of threatening with a weapon to inflict bodily harm to coerce sex and two counts of rape.
Robert Hall raped a prostitute at knifepoint in a motel room in March 1990 and escaped justice for 23 years until he left a petrol station without paying and his DNA matched
However, the now-59-year-old will spend only a year behind bars after District Court Judge Peter Whitford sentenced him to a maximum five years jail.
He ruled Hall reformed himself before his arrest and led an upstanding life as a volunteer firefighter and family man.
'Mr Hall has already established that he can rehabilitate himself, and indeed has. 'He has become a fully participating, productive member of society,' he said.
'In addition to the demonstrable contribution he has made to the life of his family, through his voluntary work the offender has given back to society far more in the last 25 years than many ordinary citizens manage in a lifetime.'
This was despite the horrifying details of the crime, which Judge Whitford outlined in his judgement, Hall committed on March 25, 1990, when he was 32.
The prostitute from Wollongong, on her first day with her agency, walked to the motel room where Hall answered sporting a beer gut, greying brown hair and forearm tattoos.
The 23-year-old put his $200 payment in her makeup bag and told her taxi driver she was fine and would be back in an hour - then it all went wrong.
As the victim was watching TV, Hall put the large flick knife to her throat from behind and forced her on her knees facing the wall.
But he was jailed for only one year because the judge ruled he 'rehabilitated himself' into a family man and volunteer firefighter
When she tried to turn around he said 'if you do that again I'll f**king kill you' and stuck bandages over her eyes before forcing her to undress.
Hall then forced her to give him oral sex for up to 15 minutes, moving her head up and down when she refused to move.
'I paid the money now you just lay back there and I can do whatever I f**king want,' he told her.
Afterwards he raped her for another 15 minutes without a condom and