A Lewisham cab driver, alleged to be the so-called “Night Stalker”, has gone on trial for raping elderly victims across south-east London over a 17-year period.
Delroy Grant, 53, from Honor Oak, burgled and sexually assaulted vulnerable men and women in their 80s for a gratification it was “impossible to understand”, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
The offences took place in the homes of the elderly people, in Warlingham, Shirley, Beckenham, Bromley, Addiscombe, Orpington and West Dulwich.
Grant, who appeared in the dock with close-cropped hair, glasses and wearing a pinstriped blue suit, denies charges relating to 29 offences committed from 1992 to 2009.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC for the prosecution told the jury how Grant preyed on his victims in their homes at night: “That is why he was to become known as The Night Stalker.”
He told the jury: “What it was that motivated him to carry out sexual offences on the very elderly and what sort of gratification he could possibly have achieved is obviously difficult, if not impossible, to understand.”
“Neither was his sexual interest only confined to women, although it was single women living on their own which he was focused on.” Two of the offences involved elderly men, who were “both subjected to humiliating and degrading attacks”, the prosecutor said.
He continued: “Those who were too frightened to resist or protest were attacked. Where he experienced resistance and where his elderly victims refused to be compliant, they tended to be left alone.”
His eighth victim avoided being raped by reasoning with her attacker, saying: “It is a good job your mother can’t see you now.”
The jury of five women and seven men heard how Grant tried to blame his son for the attacks when he was interviewed by police, thinking that their DNA could be mistaken.
Laidlaw said: “He was apparently desperate enough to have suggested that his own son may be responsible, arriving at him as an alternative candidate, presumably because he hoped that his son might share his DNA profile.”
Both elderly men and women were subject to Grant’s sexual attacks, though he targeted more single women.
Desperate not to be caught, Grant took extreme measure such as removing light-bulbs and cutting phone-lines to give him more time to escape from his victims’ houses.
Despite this, the jury heard how Grant was often in no rush to leave and would try to engage his victims in conversation.
Laidlaw said: “Whether it was just the additional sexual element that he enjoyed or it was the power and control he could assert whilst committing these offences, or it was the fear and anxiety, which he created and revelled in, will probably remain unclear.”
The attacks stopped in the last 10 years, and after the 1999 media campaign to catch the “Night Stalker”, Grant became increasingly cautious in concealing his identity.
He would often wear gloves and wash his victims’ hands to remove any trace of his DNA. He also washed the nightdress of one of his female victims before leaving her house.
Grant was caught by police after being disturbed trying to enter an 86-year-old woman’s home in Croydon. He returned to his parked car and was arrested by officers on covert surveillance duties.
The trial continues.