Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 12:37 UK

Life term for serial sex attacker

Kirk Reid
The Metropolitan Police apologised for failings in the Reid inquiry

A serial sex attacker who targeted women in south-west London over a 22-year period has been jailed for life.

Kirk Reid, 44, was convicted at Kingston Crown Court of 28 sexual assaults including two rapes and must serve at least seven-and-a-half years.

Police also believe the former chef from Cavendish Road, Balham, was responsible for a further 71 attacks on women who were walking alone at night.

The Metropolitan Police have apologised for failings in the inquiry.

Judge Shani Barnes called Reid a very dangerous man who had carried out "utterly terrifying, humiliating and degrading offences" on his 27 victims.

Reid carried out most of his attacks in the Balham, Clapham and Tooting areas between August 2001 and October 2007.

'Double life'

The offences for which he was convicted were committed between 1995 and 2007.

Judge Barnes took into account an attack in 1984 which she said she was "utterly convinced" Reid was responsible for.

He was also found guilty of two counts of possessing indecent images of children.

Judge Barnes said Reid, a football coach and chef at Camberwell Community College, lived a "double life".

She told him: "You created a false self and that enabled you to lead what appeared to be a successful, normal, happy life.

A victim talks about the assaults

"All the time you appeared to be this charming, normal, pleasant person deep down within you is this deep hostility against women."

She added that it was unlikely Reid would be released in seven-and-a-half years time as he would still be likely to pose a danger to women.

Although identified as a suspect in February 2004, he was not arrested until four years later.

DNA was recovered from two of his victims but Reid was not tested.

Judge Barnes praised the officers who caught him but criticised "years of inadequate work" for allowing him to go undetected.

Independent inquiry

He was finally caught when responsibility for the investigation moved from the Wandsworth borough sex crime unit, known as Sapphire, to the Met's homicide and serious crime command.

His case is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Emma Scott, director of sexual violence charity Rights of Women, said: "Cases like that of Kirk Reid show that despite the development of sapphire units police are still failing to adequately investigate sexual violence cases - and continue to let women down.

"We are concerned that this case will only further discourage women from coming forward to report their experiences of sexual violence and achieving justice."

She added: "In the Reid case, officers failed to arrest him or take a DNA sample from him.

"If they had, he would have been apprehended sooner and would not have been able to continue his predatory attacks on women."



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