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.”

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin