A man dubbed the "night stalker" will finally be punished for raping hundreds of elderly people in their London homes, despite police errors and a bizarre defense involving his ex-wife planting his semen at various crime scenes.
In a horrifying story sure to find its way to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the Guardian reports that "night stalker" Delroy Grant watched his victims for hours before cutting their phone and power lines, breaking into their houses, blinding them with a flashlight, and raping and sometimes stealing from them. While he's only been convicted on 29 counts, police think he may have attacked as many as 203 people. His youngest victim was 68, his oldest 93, and several have died waiting for him to be convicted. He'll now serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.
According to the Guardian, Grant might have been apprehended sooner had it not been for police errors. In 1999, officials "had a golden chance to catch Grant but blundered and not only failed to detain him, but ruled him out as a suspect." He committed 146 of his 203 crimes after this mistake. When he finally was caught, he tried to point the finger at both his son and his ex-wife. His claims about his ex-wife were especially ridiculous — he said she "collected" his saliva and semen in 1979, before they were divorced, then had them stored at a hospital until 1992, at which point she had a friend plant them at crime scenes around London over the course of the next 17 years — all "in order to satisfy a grudge she holds against him." The prosecutor pointed out a problem with Grant's claim: "How she would know back in 1979 that in due course that scientist, who had not then invented the technique, would be able to recover DNA from semen and saliva is a question you might want to ask."
Grant had another question: "Why would anyone want to rape old women?" It's not clear why he wanted to, but his case is a reminder that people of all ages can be rape victims, and that rape wouldn't magically disappear if women just behaved well and stayed in their homes. What can stop rape is catching and punishing rapists. British authorities had a high-profile success in this area recently — a man who raped two women and tried to rape to others was caught because his twin brother's DNA was in Britain's national database. But they clearly dropped the ball on the "night stalker" back in 1999 — hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.
'Night Stalker' Case: Police Chief Says Sorry [Guardian]
My Ex-Wife Framed Me With DNA, 'Night Stalker' Accused Will Tell Jury [Telegraph]
Night Stalker Delroy Grant Claims Ex-Wife Planted His Semen At Sex Crime Scenes As He Says: "Why Would Anyone Want To Rape Old Women?" [Mirror]
'Night Stalker' Rapist Jailed For 27 Years [Sky News]
'Night Stalker' Claimed He Was Framed By Ex-Wife [Guardian]