Loophole left rapist free to attack again

A notorious serial sex attacker who was deported from Australia was jailed for life yesterday after being found guilty of rape on his return to Britain.

Because of a legal loophole, Edward Godfrey, 43, was not placed on the Sex Offenders Register, despite convictions for four rapes on three women in Australia.

Passing sentence at the Old Bailey yesterday, Recorder Michael Lawson warned he posed a "serious danger to women" wherever he lived.

Godfrey lured a 22-year-old Australian tourist to his flat in Enfield, north London, and forced her to assume pornographic poses as he raped and assaulted her, the court was told. He had been deported by the Australian authorities after serving most of his adult life in jail for sex crimes. Known in Australia as the "Lift Rapist", he was imprisoned for rapes and indecent assaults in Queensland and Sydney.

Godfrey, who was born in Britain, moved to Australia with his parents when he was 10, but never took Australian citizenship.

When he was deported the Australian authorities warned of the "potential risk [to] women in another country to which Mr Godfrey is to be returned" and alerted British police to his background. He was monitored by officers for five months until April 2002, but could not be put on the Sex Offenders Register because his offences were committed abroad.

A Home Office spokesman admitted there was a loophole in the rules governing the register, but said it would be closed from May under last year's Sexual Offences Act. From then, police will be able to place sex attackers whose crimes were committed in other countries on the register.

Godfrey had denied two charges of indecent assault and one charge of rape. A jury convicted him by an 11-1 majority on all counts. By denying the charges, Godfrey put his victim through the ordeal of having to recall the 50-minute attack in court. She gave evidence from behind a screen which shielded her from the gaze of her assailant. Speaking about her ordeal she said she had never felt so scared in her life. She had looked on Godfrey as a parental figure. "He has betrayed that trust. As a consequence, it has had a profound effect on my relationships and [on making] new friends."

She said she now suffered recurring nightmares, nausea and often found herself crying. "He told me he would kill me if I told anyone what had happened." The jurors were told of Godfrey's convictions after they returned their verdicts.