A paranoid schizophrenic psychopath received five life sentences yesterday for a string of sexual and violent crimes committed within months of his release from a psychiatric hospital against the advice of doctors.
Jurors looked stunned when they heard that a rape Glenn Grant had denied echoed two he carried out at the age of 15, earning the nickname the "beast of Belgravia".
It was the last in a spate of crimes on which he embarked, police believe, in a bid to enhance his reputation as a hard man and join the criminal "elite" at Broadmoor top security hospital, such as the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, where he had served most of his 10-year rape sentence.
But whereas he admitted the other serious offences, he denied the rape which came days after he was formally discharged from psychiatric hospital. It is thought he did not want to be regarded as a sex offender.
Mark Dennis, for the prosecution, said consultants, social workers and nursing staff at Cane Hill secure hospital in Surrey wanted him detained under the Mental Health Act in January last year. But hospital managers decided he should be discharged.
"If that is so, the decision was wrong as subsequent events have proved," Judge Giles Forrester told the Old Bailey in London yesterday.
Quoting a psychiatrist who described Grant's pattern of offending as "sexual sadism against young women", the judge told the defendant: "You are a considerable danger to the public."
He dismissed psychiatrists' pleas that Grant should be sent to a secure hospital instead of prison and recommended he serve a minimum of 14 years before parole.
But a spokeswoman for the Ravensbourne NHS Trust, which runs Cane Hill, said its internal inquiry had found "no evidence to suggest any failure in care either by staff at the unit or in the community".
Grant was released when he appealed against his continued detention to a panel of lay people trained in mental health issues. The hospital set up an inquiry after he was arrested but found the decision was "justifiable" as Grant had appeared stable and "showed considerable insight into his condition".
Police believe Grant is highly intelligent and used this insight to gain his freedom. But they believe he only wanted to be free to commit the kind of crimes which would improve his status when he was returned to Broadmoor.
He committed an armed robbery when he was given overnight leave and threatened and bound three women in their home on weekend leave. Formally discharged from hospital on 4 April last year, he assaulted a 33-year- old woman at knifepoint three weeks later, the day after he was last seen as an out-patient and three days before he raped a woman, then 26, three times at knifepoint.
On another day on home leave at the end of March, he attended the funeral service of Ronnie Kray, his Broadmoor friend. It was Ronnie's voice he claimed to hear in his head when he embarked on some of his more appalling crimes.
Schizophrenics freed to strike
Christopher Clunis stabbed to death Jonathan Zito at Finsbury Park tube station, north London, in 1993.
Wayne Hutchinson, paranoid schizophrenic, released by mistake. Killed two, injured three in Brixton, south London.
Gilbert Steckel, allowed to discharge himself from psychiatric ward in Croydon. Returned home , killed mother and committed suicide.
Paul Medley, paranoid schizophrenic, battered pensioner to death within days of pleading with hospital to admit him.
Stephen Mitchell murdered father and two pensioners, seven months after being freed from hospital by psychiatrists.