Just hours after his reign of terror came to an end, Night Stalker Delroy Grant joked that police should not bother taking his fingerprints as he "always wore gloves".
The 53-year-old confounded senior detectives with his polite and light-hearted manner, which defied the reality that he was a horrifying bogeyman for hundreds of elderly people.
It quickly emerged that Grant would resort to anything to get off the hook - including fitting up his own loved ones.
When officers came in to offer him a can of deodorant in his cell, Grant casually said: "Have you thought about my son Delroy Junior?"
When asked why his son might be responsible, Grant added: "He lives in the right area and he is the same height as me."
Investigators looked on with surprise as their prime suspect sat in Lewisham police station's custody suite chatting happily about the tribulations of his beloved West Indies cricket team.
And as his fingerprints were taken in the early hours of November 15 2009, he blurted out: "There's no point in doing that - you know I always wore gloves."
But when the time came for a formal interview, softly-spoken Grant clammed up and refused to say anything other than "no comment" during several days of questioning.
Nevertheless, the Operation Minstead team were finally able to compare the detailed picture of Grant they had created by interviewing dozens of his victims, meticulously examining his behaviour and even studying his ancestry.
Police were hunting an employed black man, aged between 35 and 45, possibly with experience of caring for the elderly and with a detailed knowledge of the south east London area.
They found Grant was a fit and healthy man who regularly worked out on a punchbag and with weights outside his three-storey, end-of-terrace family home in Honor Oak, south east London.
The former cab driver was employed by Southwark Council as a full-time carer for his second wife Jennifer, who suffers multiple sclerosis and is paralysed from the neck down.
Well-liked by neighbours, the couple had four grown-up children and were a regular feature at barbecues in the quiet cul-de-sac, while Grant sometimes went fishing with friends.
At the time of his arrest, Grant was estranged from his wife but continued to work as her full-time carer and lived at the marital home.
One man said he bought Grant some professional paper targets after watching him use an air rifle to shoot bottles and other objects strung up in trees behind his home.
Grant was a capable cricketer, a sport he learned during his childhood in Jamaica, and played for teams in the Dulwich area of south London, taking 38 wickets as a bowler during the previous season.
And his passion for boxing may have been inspired by sports star Chris Eubank, with whom he became friends in the mid-1990s after Eubank's older brother moved into a property a few doors down the street.
Mrs Grant was a devoted Jehovah's Witness who worshipped at the nearby Kingdom Hall as part of the Forest Hill congregation. Grant joined her and was baptised in the mid-90s, before lapsing.
One detective described Grant as a "charmer" and "something of a lady's man" who embarked on a string of extra-marital affairs, some of which led to claims of abuse, bullying and rape.Reuse content