'Night stalker' shook victim's hand

The "Night Stalker" sex attacker drank from a can of beer before shaking the hand of one of his victims and leaving through the front door, a court heard.

The shocked 82-year-old woman, who was subject to an indecent assault, was so relieved not to have been more badly hurt she even thanked her attacker, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

The pensioner, who lived in Addiscombe in Croydon, south London, but has since died, said the man, wearing a balaclava, was "almost respectful" in his manner and "well-spoken".

She only phoned a neighbour for help after discovering he had removed fuses from her fuse box and she was "annoyed" because she wanted a cup of tea.

Delroy Grant, a 53-year-old former minicab driver, is on trial accused of carrying out a campaign of terror in south London over 17 years.

He denies 29 charges relating to burglaries, attempted burglaries, rapes and indecent assaults against 18 pensioners between October 1992 and November 2009.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC read a witness statement from one victim, known only as Mrs F, in which she described an attack at her detached property on July 12 1999.

Towards the end of the incident, she said she opened the front door.

"I said something like 'Thank you for not hurting me'. I felt that he could have been so horrible and nasty to me that, as shocking and unpleasant as it was, I was thankful that he did not hurt me."

She said she walked to the front door to open it and continued: "Somehow he shook my hand and pushed me back from the door."

She said it was as if he wanted to make it look like he had just been visiting.

The victim said she had locked up the house and gone to bed as usual.

She said: "The next thing I knew was a hand covering my mouth and nose.

"I felt quite a bit of pressure from his hand on my face. I thought I must be dreaming. I hadn't heard anything.

"I opened my eyes and I immediately snatched his hand away from my face."

She continued: "I remember seeing this big black hooded masked face. I said something like 'What do you want of me?' The man replied in a mumbled, muffled voice 'money'."

The court heard he took £15 in cash from her handbag in the wardrobe.

She went on: "He came and sat next to me on my left hand side. He rested his head against mine, leant over to me and said something similar to 'Do you want to have sex?'

"I had to ask him to repeat (himself) as I was so shocked by what he had said.

"I said 'No, certainly not, I'm an old woman. It won't do anything for you or me', or something similar."

The court heard she was then assaulted.

The woman told police: "I asked him not to hurt me. He didn't say anything back. He didn't try to restrain me at all. He seemed to take his time.

"The man's manner with me was almost respectful. He was not violent or aggressive towards me but I thought he could have been."

She said he looked in all the rooms around the house before they went downstairs, where he pulled a can of beer from his pocket.

She said: "I asked him 'What sort of beer is that?' He replied 'It's bitter' and after a short time he placed it on a table at the bottom of my hallway."

She said: "By now I was fed up and decided it was time that he went."

Another victim, named only as Mrs H, 88, from Shirley in Croydon, who has also died, was awoken in her home on August 3 1999.

She said in her statement: "I was shaken, petrified and dumb struck. I didn't know what to do. I kept looking at his eyes, wondering what he was going to do next. I seem to remember saying 'What do you want? How did you get in?"'

She was indecently assaulted but afterwards told police he stopped after she said: "It's a good job your mother can't see you now."

She said: "I wonder if that had made him stop."

But in a later statement, the woman, who said she had been "paralysed with fear", was unsure if she had actually spoken the words she was thinking.

She said: "I don't remember having said this now and I'm wondering if it was something I was thinking at the time."

Pc Philip Chew, who interviewed the woman, said: "It was difficult to extract information out of the victim due to her state of distress."

The court heard Mrs I, 88, was subjected to a horrific indecent assault and rape at her semi-detached bungalow in Orpington, Kent, on August 4 1999.

The woman said she was woken by a creaking noise and continued: "All of a sudden I saw this figure at the end of the bed.

"He was completely covered head to foot in an all in one type cat suit."

She continued: "He covered my face and mouth and I felt like I was being smothered. I couldn't breath or see."

The court heard the woman, who used a shopping trolley as a Zimmer frame, was "manhandled" out of her bed as the attacker tried to "frog march" her into the living room.

She said she gave him her purse which contained £60.

The court heard the attacker shone his torch on her and whispered: "Let me look at you."

The victim said of the attack: "He was really brutal. I was in such awful pain."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform