Leather fetishist attacks women

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The Independent Online

A dangerous intruder with a leather fixation has struck for the eighth time in a spate of attacks on professional women in their own homes, it was revealed yesterday.

A dangerous intruder with a leather fixation has struck for the eighth time in a spate of attacks on professional women in their own homes, it was revealed yesterday.

The man is thought to stalk his victims - who include members of the legal profession and secretaries - before launching increasingly violent attacks. All of the attacks have been carried out in south-east London since last September and the man has demanded "trophies" of leather trousers, purses and gloves. Police say the attacker's fixation is about power, control and violence.

In the latest attack on Monday night, a 50-year-old woman was confronted on the stairs of her home in Catford by a man dressed in black with a stocking mask over his face. He demanded her leather gloves and shoulder bag.

Another of his victims told yesterday how she had become too scared to use a vacuum cleaner in case it drowned out the sound of an intruder breaking into her home. The 42-year-old woman was grabbed by the man shortly after arriving home and ordered to hand over a glove and her purse. "He was fairly calm but insistent upon what he wanted. At one point he hit me a couple of times because I couldn't give him what he was asking for - I didn't have my purse on me."

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Fitzgerald, who is leading the police inquiry, said: "What is worrying is the relatively low value of the items this man takes ... He has made no sexual advances at the moment and he has made no threats to cause someone serious injury. But the violence has increased. We have got to find him before someone gets seriously hurt."

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