Paul Cheston, This Is London, March 25, 2011
Night Stalker Delroy Grant was jailed for life today and told he may never be released from prison.
Moments earlier he was confronted in court by one of his elderly victims, who said she would never recover from the trauma the serial sex attacker caused her.
The 85-year-old woman, named only as Miss J, described how Grant’s assault forced her out of her home of 60 years in Shirley and destroyed the last years of her life. “Time is not a great healer. The memories will never be erased,” she said.
At Woolwich crown court today, Judge Peter Rook gave Grant, 53, of Brockley, four life sentences with a minimum term of 27 years. He will not be allowed to apply for parole until he is 79 and can only be freed if he is no longer considered a danger.
Yesterday Grant was found guilty of 29 specimen charges of burglaries and sex attacks over 17 years. But police believe his reign of terror across south London could amount to 1,000 attacks in two decades.
A senior officer has apologised for police blunders which allowed him to roam free for so long.
Judge Rook said: “It may be you will never be released. Your utter depravity knows no bounds. For 17 years, over five south London boroughs, you terrified a whole community. Thousands of people have been living in fear over whether they will be your next victim.”
Most of Grant’s victims were in their eighties and living on their own. “Homes should have been their safest refuge,” said the judge. “It’s hard to imagine the extreme fear–the feel of your gloved hand, the sight of your masked figure looming over them–that must have been felt by your victims in their beds.
“You shone a torch in their terrified eyes . . . and left a trail of distress, fear and misery. You have never shown any remorse. You appear to have no feelings whatsoever for your victims. You will only be released if the parole board consider it safe to do so.
“I have no doubt you are a very, very dangerous man.” Grant maintained a stony expression, an arrogant sneer spreading occasionally across his face. At one stage he shook his head vigorously and turned to a woman dock officer for sympathy. She looked away.
Earlier, Miss J, a small, bespectacled lady with grey hair, was helped into the court. She told how she had lived alone for 21 years and never felt threatened before the attack in March 2003.
In a statement read to the court, she said: “I have not got back my peace of mind. I found myself gradually feeling depressed. Nobody can provide me with the security I needed and I decided I had to move house.
“I take antidepressant pills. I don’t really tell my family everything. I just felt ‘why did he want to do these things?'”
Delroy Grant–the “Night Stalker”–has been jailed for life with a minimum of 27 years. Judge Peter Hook set out the severity of his crimes. Here are his sentencing comments:
“Delroy Grant. Your utter depravity knows no bounds.
The 18 victims of your offending were all elderly. In respect of nine of them, not only did you break into their homes in the middle of the night, that invasion being a highly traumatic experience for them in itself, but you then proceeded to subject them to humiliating and degrading sexual attacks.
Your offending spanned a period of 17 years. Five south London boroughs were affected by your offending. Over 17 years you have terrified a whole community. As your counsel accepted, thousands of people in south London have been living in fear that they might be your next victim.
It also led to an enormous drain on police resources as the years went by and you evaded arrest. Your offending led to the largest hunt for a serial rapist ever conducted in London.
This series of offences have multiple aggravating features. Your offending falls in a category of its own, way above anything envisaged in the definitive sentencing guidelines.
You targeted elderly victims living alone. Your actions blighted the remaining years of their lives. Their homes, where many of them had lived for years, should have been their safest refuge, where they could expect to live their lives undisturbed and at peace. You chose to invade their homes when they were in bed at night.
It is hard to imagine the extreme fear that the feel of your gloved hand and the sight of your masked figure looming above them must have been felt by your victims in their beds.
Those who you raped or attempted to rape were all over 80. Many of your victims were in poor health.
Since in every case but one, your elderly victims lived on their own, I can only conclude that these offences were well-planned and you targeted victims. Singling out your victims must have involved considerable planning, as you chose the most vulnerable of people.
In the middle of the night, you would wake your victims who would be sleeping in their own beds by placing a gloved hand over their mouths to stop them screaming. You would shine your torch into their terrified eyes. You would search their homes and steal their money.
I am not going to catalogue in detail the trail of distress, fear and misery you have left behind you.
There can be only one sentence and that is life imprisonment. I have no doubt that these offences are of such seriousness that a life sentence is appropriate to reflect the public abhorrence at your offending.
You are a very dangerous man capable of committing heinous crimes and causing incalculable harm to people. It will be a matter for the Parole Board whether you ever be released. It may be that you will never be released.
Your offending is in a league of its own.
I must look at the totality of your offending. I bear in mind that you are now 53. If this was a determinate sentence, a total sentence of 54 years would be appropriate. This means the minimum term will be one of 27 years, less the time you have spent in custody. I am told that is one year and 129 days. That makes the total minimum sentence 25 years, 236 days.
I stress that is the minimum term you must serve.
It will follow automatically that you will be placed on the Sexual Offences Register for life.”