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Night Stalker jailed for life

One of Night Stalker Delroy Grant's elderly victims bravely faced him across a courtroom as he was jailed for life today.

An 85-year-old spinster who was burgled and indecently assaulted by the depraved sexual predator spoke of how she still suffers from her ordeal nearly nine years on.

Grant, 53, was warned he may die in prison after being told he must spend at least 27 years behind bars for burgling and raping vulnerable pensioners in a 17-year reign of terror.

The former minicab driver was found guilty of preying on 18 elderly women and men - but police fear he may have had over 500 victims.

He was confronted at London's Woolwich Crown Court today by a woman he attacked at her bungalow in Shirley, Croydon, in October 2002, when she was 77.

The frail, white-haired pensioner, referred to as Miss J for legal reasons, courageously entered the witness box to describe the impact Grant's sick assault had on her life.

In a statement from 2003, she said: "I have found that time is not a great healer. I don't think it's got any easier over the last year.

"I certainly haven't got back my peace of mind. Nobody can guarantee it won't happen again."

She added: "It's something I shall never forget completely. It still feels so recent."

Judge Peter Rook asked if her experiences at Grant's hands still affected her today.

Miss J replied: "If I go out I like to be home before dark. I do a lot of locking and bolting, and taking precautions... It changed my life."

She was watched from the dock by Grant, who sat impassively throughout most of the hearing but occasionally shook his head as details of his shocking crimes were read out.

Passing sentence, the judge told the depraved sex attacker he remained a "very dangerous man capable of committing heinous crimes and causing incalculable harm" and warned him he could die in jail.

The judge said he considered giving Grant a whole-life sentence and noted that his crimes were so serious they were not covered by normal sentencing guidelines.

"Your offending is in a league of its own," he said.

The judge went on: "You targeted elderly victims living alone. Your actions blighted the remaining precious years of their lives.

"Their homes, where many of them had lived for years, should have been their safest refuge where they could have expected to live their lives undisturbed and at peace.

"You chose to invade their homes when they were in their beds at night.

"It's hard to imagine the extreme fear that the feel of your gloved hand and the sight of your masked figure looming above them must have been felt by your victims in their beds."

The judge quoted the son of one of Grant's victims, who said: "It has ruined the winter years of my mother's life, and she has to live with this for the rest of her life."

And a grandmother burgled by Grant in 1999 said in a statement to the court: "This man has totally unsettled my life. I don't go out as I used to - he has ruined my life."

The judge noted that in all but one case the predator targeted elderly people living alone, suggesting that his attacks involved "considerable planning".

He told Grant: "Your offending spans a period of 17 years. Five London boroughs were affected by your offending.

"During that period your activities must have terrified a whole community, as your counsel accepted.

"Thousands of people in south London have been living in fear that they might be your next victim."

Grant, of Brockley Mews, Honor Oak, south-east London, was found guilty of 29 charges relating to burglaries and sexual attacks on elderly people between October 1992 and November 2009.

He received four life sentences for three rapes and one attempted rape, concurrent eight-year sentences for seven indecent assaults, and concurrent six-year sentences for 18 burglaries and attempted burglaries.

He has already spent a year and 129 days in custody awaiting trial and will not be allowed to apply for parole until he is 78, the court heard.

His defence counsel, Courtenay Griffiths QC, admitted that he could offer no mitigation for his client other than to point out that his age means he will probably spend the rest of his life in jail.

Grant, a father of 10, attempted to pin the blame for his crimes on his own son when he was finally arrested in November 2009.

And he claimed during his trial that his ex-wife stored his semen in 1977 and then waited 15 years to frame him for the crimes.

The judge said these false accusations were an illustration of Grant's "complete amorality".

"You have never shown any remorse. You appear to have no feelings whatsoever for your victims, or indeed your own family, or former family," he said.

The Metropolitan Police apologised after it was revealed that officers botched a chance to stop Grant in 1999.

He is feared to have preyed on hundreds of elderly victims after "basic errors" at Scotland Yard meant he remained at large.