Man, 22, raped and beat 70-year-old woman before leaving her for dead

The woman survived the brutal attack in Chessington that left her with a broken hip and ribs

A man has been found guilty of raping a 70-year-old woman and beating her so badly she almost died.

Robert Richards, 22, broke into his victim’s home in Chessington, south-west London, and attacked her early in the morning of 23 October last year.

The court heard Richards had once changed a light bulb for the woman and scaled the front of her house to get in through her bedroom window.

When she woke up, he put his hand across the woman’s mouth and threatened to kill her if she screamed, the court heard.

He then raped and beat her so severely she suffered a broken hip, vertebrae, jaw and 10 broken ribs.

The pensioner was left with a bleed on the brain, broken cheekbone and extensive bruising. While being treated in hospital, she went into cardiac arrest.

Richards was convicted of rape, attempted rape and attempted murder at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.

He denied the attack, claiming he was at a nearby shop buying tea bags at the time and told officers to check CCTV.

Robert Richards was convicted of rape and attempted murder Richards tried to use CCTV of him buying tea bags as an alibi Pictures proved he was there but officers believe he went into the store immediately after the rape to create an alibi.

When he left the house out the back door, his victim alerted her neighbours by banging on the wall and police quickly identified Richards as a suspect.

He was arrested later in the day in Chessington and was found to be wearing two pairs of tracksuit bottoms.

Forensic analysis found blood covering the inner pair belonged to the victim and his DNA was under her fingernails.

Richards claimed he had found the bloodied tracksuit bottoms on the street and put them on because he was cold.

He will be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on 4 August.

Detective Inspector Nicky Arrowsmith, from the Metropolitan Police’s sexual offences unit, paid tribute to the victim’s “spirit and courage” giving evidence.

She added: “Thankfully this type of violent offence is rare and I hope that the swift identification, arrest and charge of Richards will give other victims of sexual offences the confidence to come forward in the belief that they will be treated with the utmost sensitivity by specially trained detectives who are committed to supporting victims and bringing perpetrators to justice.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee