UK police apologise for letting sex beast walk free
Published 25/03/2011 | 05:00
Police yesterday apologised for a "horrific" blunder which allowed Britain's worst sex attacker to go free for more than a decade and claim hundreds more victims.
Delroy Grant, who became known as the Night Stalker as he broke into hundreds of pensioners' homes to commit rapes and burglaries, is expected to be sent to prison for life after he was convicted yesterday of 29 offences. The Metropolitan Police described his crimes as among the most "awful and disturbing" it had ever dealt with.
He was finally caught in 2009, at least 17 years after he had started terrorising south London, but police admitted yesterday they should have caught him in 1999, when he was identified as a suspect. Instead, a catastrophic error led to him being eliminated from the inquiry.
Yesterday the Metropolitan Police apologised to his surviving victims and the families of those who have died since being attacked, but confirmed that whilst three officers have faced minor disciplinary proceedings, none of them have been sacked and one has been promoted.
Grant (53) has been linked to 203 victims, 146 of whom were attacked after police let him slip through their fingers. Senior officers have admitted the true total of his victims is more likely to be between 400 and 600, with many victims too ashamed to come forward. Grant should have been stopped in 1999, when his car was seen at the scene of a burglary, leading police to his door. But instead of taking his DNA, officers checked the DNA of another man with the same name and Grant was ruled out of the inquiry.
Commander Simon Foy, the head of homicide and serious crime at Scotland Yard, said: "We are deeply sorry for the harm suffered by all those other victims and for our failure to bring Grant to justice earlier."
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruled that three detectives were to blame and had been subjected to "local misconduct hearings".
The IPCC made the disciplinary suggestion, saying any sterner punishment would be unfair given that the mistake was 12 years ago and none of the officers could have foreseen the consequences of their error. (© Daily Telegraph, London)