Rapist jailed for life after 23 years of attacks

A children's football coach who attacked and stalked women for more than 23 years has been jailed for life.

Kirk Reid, 44, preyed on 27 women, the majority on the streets of Balham, Clapham and Tooting in south-west London. A letter of apology from him to his victims and the trial judge was read out at Kingston Crown Court as he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of seven-and-a-half years.

In it, Reid wrote: "There are no excusable reasons for my actions and I apologise unreservedly for the damage caused, which may be irreparable in some instances. For that I am very sorry."

Judge Shani Barnes criticised early police inquiries which left many victims "neglected" and said he could have been caught sooner. The Metropolitan Police have apologised for not arresting him for four years after he became a suspect. Judge Barnes said she was convinced Reid was also responsible for a 1984 rape which was admitted in evidence but not included as a charge.

Reid, from Colliers Wood, south London, was sentenced for 28 attacks on 27 women between 1995 and 2007, including two rapes and two indecent assaults which he admitted. He focused on the route of the 155 night bus and would wait until his victims walked into quiet side streets and grab them from behind.