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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"He goes to extraordinary lengths to research his victims"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 23 August, 2000, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Police link rapist to more victims
E-fit picture
The man is believed to be of Afro-Caribbean origin
Detectives looking for a serial sex attacker who preys on elderly women are now linking him to more than 60 incidents over the past decade.

Police say the attacker, appears to mainly target homes in south London and the south east of England.


A very tall dark figure came in and put his hand over my mouth

Elsa Wilson

They believe he is responsible for 66 burglaries and assaults on elderly women living on their own.

He has raped four elderly women and indecently assaulted or exposed himself to 16 women.

Detective Chief Inspector Duncan Wilson, who has been on the trail of the serial sex offender for the past 18 months, says the attacker goes to extraordinary lengths to research his victims before striking.

"He will patiently remove double glazed units to effect entry," said DCI Wilson.

'Hours in the house'

"Once inside the house he will actually control light sources by removing lights bulbs and if there's no external telephone wire he will remove telephones from the sockets.

"He will then go about searching house for money and valuables before tackling the victim."

Scientific tests show that the attacker is an Afro-Caribbean man, while geographical profiling reveals he probably lives in a small but densely populated area of south London.

In all the attacks in south London, Surrey and Kent he has taken a small amount of money and always spends several hours walking about the house.

Dr Julian Boon, criminal profiler on the case and a lecturer in psychology at Leicester University, believes the attacker could be suffering from a rare condition.

Trauma

"The primary motive is sexual and having a relationship and that would suggest he has a paraphilia," said Dr Boon.

"Like we use the word paedophilia for someone who has a sexual interest in children, he has so called gerontophilia which is an interest in the elderly."

One of the attacker's victims, 86-year-old Elsa Brown, has spoken of her attack, but most others remain too traumatised by the experience.

She described how the man removed a pane of glass from her French windows one summer evening last year and crawled in.

"A very dark tall figure came in and put his hand over my mouth," she said.

The pensioner was not raped, but despite her protests he remained in the house for hours.

"I want him caught because of the damage he does to vulnerable, elderly women who live alone - which I think is quite inexcusable," she said.

Cluster of attacks

An 82-year-old from Croydon and an 88-year-old from Orpington were raped last summer. The oldest rape victim, an 89-year-old from Croydon, was attacked in 1992.

A cluster of break-ins have been recorded over a 14-mile band from Warlingham in Surrey to Bexley, south-east London, extending out to Bromley and Sidcup in Kent.

Last year, police issued an e-fit of the suspect, who is believed to be aged between 25 and 35.

"He is active in the middle of the night," said Mr Wilson.

"Someone must be aware of this night-time activity. It may be that his day-time work is suffering," he added.

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See also:

24 Sep 99 | UK
Police hunt serial rapist
13 Aug 99 | UK
Rapist linked to 20 attacks
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