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Football coach stalker jailed for life

A children's football coach who attacked and stalked women over 23 years was today jailed for life.

Kirk Reid, 44, preyed on 27 women, the majority on the streets of the Balham, Clapham and Tooting areas of south west London.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of seven and a half years at Kingston Crown Court.

Judge Shani Barnes said he was a "Jekyll and Hyde" character who would continue to be a danger to women for many years.

She said the attacks were "utterly degrading, humiliating and terrifying" and left his victims living in fear.

The judge criticised early police inquiries which left many victims "neglected" and said he could have been caught sooner.

She said she was convinced Reid was also responsible for a 1984 rape which was admitted in evidence but not included as a charge against him.

The judge added: "You have been committing these serious violent offences against women since 1984 and that means that your false self and your behaviour is deeply entrenched within you.

"To say you have a hostility to women is stating the blindingly obvious, it is not just a deep-rooted hostility against women, it is something very dark and very dangerous."

Reid, of Colliers Wood, was sentenced for 28 attacks on 27 women, including two rapes and two indecent assaults which he admitted.

The rapes took place in 1995 and 2002, while the series of indecent assaults took place between August 2001 and October 2007.

He also admitted two counts of possessing indecent images of children on his home computer.

Detectives believe he is a prolific attacker and continue to investigate whether he is behind a further 71 assaults.

The Metropolitan Police was forced to apologise to his victims after it was disclosed he was not arrested until four years after he became a suspect.

Officials at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are investigating blunders that allowed him to roam the streets for so long.

Reid was the second serious sex attacker to slip through the police net and highlight investigative failures in London.

A second inquiry is under way into how taxi driver rapist John Worboys, who drugged and attacked his passengers, evaded detection.

Officers in Wandsworth borough identified that a repeat sex attacker was on the loose in September 2002 and identified Reid as a suspect in February 2004.

But despite him crossing their radar on several occasions he was not held until January 2008 when Scotland Yard detectives took over the case.

Police believe Reid preyed on at least 20 more women, many of whom were making their way home from a night out, during the four-year gap.

Most of his victims were between the ages of 20 and 40 but Reid's youngest victim was 17 and the eldest a 61-year-old woman.

The attacks include the rape of a woman Reid grabbed on the street in March 2002 and the rape of a woman in a flat in 1995.

Reid focused on the A24 corridor, the route of the 155 night bus, a service used by many people heading home from central London which passes several Tube stations.

He waited until his victims walked into quiet side streets and were often outside their homes before grabbing them from behind.