London

Delroy Grant 'was Night Stalker rapist'

A man has gone on trial accused of being the so-called Night Stalker who targeted elderly people in a 17-year campaign of sex attacks.

Delroy Grant, 53, of Honor Oak, south London, sexually assaulted men and women in their 80s during burglaries, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

He denies charges relating to 29 offences committed from 1992 to 2009.

Opening the case, prosecutors said Mr Grant preyed on the elderly and vulnerable in their homes at night.

'Framed son'

Jonathan Laidlaw QC said: "That is why he was to become known as the Night Stalker."

Jurors were also told that during police interviews Mr Grant had tried to pin the crimes, committed across south London and Surrey, on his son.

Mr Laidlaw said: "He was apparently desperate enough to have suggested that his own son may be responsible, arriving at him as an alternative candidate, presumably because he hoped that his son might share his DNA profile."

He said during initial interviews Mr Grant said "nothing at all and he provided not a hint of genuine defence".

Mr Grant's defence - that he blamed his ex-wife for framing him - was "extraordinary", Mr Laidlaw said.

It showed how he was "incapable of facing up to what he has done", he added.

Mr Grant has denied the offences, which took place in Warlingham, Shirley, Beckenham, Bromley, Addiscombe, Orpington and West Dulwich.

'Housebound' woman

Mr Laidlaw told the jury of five women and seven men: "What it was that motivated him to carry out sexual offences on the very elderly and what sort of gratification he could possibly have achieved is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to understand."

He said although Mr Grant's sexual interest was not only confined to women he did focus on single women living on their own.

The court heard how Mr Grant's first of his attacks was on an 89-year-old woman living alone in her bungalow in Shirley, south London.

"On October 11, 1992, she went to bed but later that night she was woken by the defendant who had appeared, standing over her, masked and gloved in her bedroom.

"The defendant asked for money and then took time to search the room before turning his attention to the old woman and to raping her."

After a six-year gap, Mr Grant attacked an "immobile and housebound" 81-year-old woman, Mr Laidlaw said.

"His victim would die of unrelated causes the next year, so she was to suffer the attack in the last year of her life."

'Removing light bulbs'

Jurors were told two of the offences involved elderly men, both of whom were subjected to "humiliating and degrading attacks".

Mr Grant, of Brockley Mews, was arrested after his car was stopped by police in November 2009.

The court heard he went to great lengths to avoid identification, removing light bulbs in his victim's bedrooms and cutting telephone lines to give himself more time to escape.

Mr Laidlaw said: "This would become something of a hallmark to his offending."

The prosecutor explained how despite this he was never in a rush to leave and often engaged his victims in conversation.

"Whether it was just the additional sexual element that he enjoyed or it was the power and control he could assert whilst committing these offences, or it was the fear and anxiety, which he created and revelled in, will probably remain unclear," he said.

'Good fortune'

The jury was told the rapes stopped in the last 10 years of Mr Grant's campaign, possibly because he thought advances in forensic science and the use of DNA evidence could lead to his capture.

In 1999 media campaigns to catch the "Night Stalker" were stepped up and during the latter stages of Mr Grant's offending he became increasingly careful not to leave clues as to his identity, the court heard.

He began wearing gloves and in one case he washed the hands of a victim but prosecutors said his "good fortune to evade arrest for so long" ran out in November 2009.

Disturbed while trying to gain entry to an 86-year-old woman's home, he ran back to his car parked nearby and was arrested by officers on covert surveillance duties, some distance away, in Croydon.

"The police had their breakthrough and the defendant's offending was finally to be brought to an end," Mr Laidlaw said.

The trial continues.

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