A former minicab driver believed to be the infamous criminal dubbed the "Night Stalker" denied raping and sexually assaulting a string of elderly women yesterday.
Delroy Grant, 52, of Brockley Mews, Honor Oak, south-east London, pleaded not guilty to a series of offences committed across south London between 1992 and 2009. He appeared at the Old Bailey to face charges of rape, indecent assault and burglary.
Mr Grant, a full-time carer for his estranged wife Jennifer, who has multiple sclerosis, was arrested in the early hours of 15 November last year. He was interviewed by a team of Scotland Yard detectives hunting a criminal known as the Night Stalker. Mr Grant is accused of breaking into the victims' homes before subjecting them to sex attacks. He is charged with three rapes, one attempted rape, seven indecent assaults, 16 burglaries and two attempted burglaries, involving a total of 18 victims.
The alleged offences took place in Warlingham, Shirley, Beckenham, Bromley, Addiscombe, Orpington and West Dulwich between October 1992 and May last year.
The inquiry set up to catch the Night Stalker was named Operation Minstead and was opened in 1998. It is the largest hunt for a rapist ever conducted by Metropolitan Police.
The attacker broke into the homes of pensioners, often disabling phone and electricity lines, before subjecting them to horrific ordeals. Mr Justice Bean said the trial would take place on 1 March next year at Woolwich Crown Court. It may take up to six weeks.
Mr Grant, who wore a dark blue striped suit, shirt and tie, spoke only to confirm his name during the 25-minute hearing.