Rape trial told of 'targets'

(First Edition)

A RAPIST who targeted women living alone in bedsits in converted houses beat and sexually attacked a dental student and a graduate as they returned home, a jury at the Old Bailey was told yesterday.

Rodney Douglas, 26, banked on not being challenged inside the buildings where his victims lived, Sally Howes, for the prosecution, said. 'They lived in large houses which had been divided. Residents would not immediately challenge a person coming in through the front door.'

He had duped his way inside his first victim's flat in Hampstead, north-west London, last April as she returned with an armful of shopping. After asking the 25-year-old English graduate if he could use her lavatory, he struck her in the face repeatedly. She fell on to her bed and he raped her, Miss Howes said.

Three months later he struck again, in Forest Hill, south London, the court was told. He went up behind a 23- year-old dental student as she returned from shopping. He asked for some ice, then seized her around her throat, hit her, grabbed her hair and threatened her with scissors before raping her, it is alleged.

Mr Douglas, of Ladywell, south London, has denied raping both women. He allegedly told police that the women had consented to sex after he met them in the street.

Forensic scientists found Mr Douglas's fingerprints in both flats. DNA tests based on intimate samples showed that Mr Douglas had had sexual intercourse with both women.

Police found a videotape and a pair of scissors in his home which were identical to the ones stolen from the second woman's bedsit, it is said.

The trial continues today.

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