UK & World News

  • 13 December 2013, 21:38

Escaped Prisoner Who Terrorised Women Gets Life

A sex attacker who battered women in their homes after fleeing prison while on day release has been jailed for life.

Lee Cyrus, 48, preyed on vulnerable women in their homes, ringing their doorbells, before smashing their heads with weapons.

He went on an horrific crime spree after going missing from HMP North Sea Camp open prison, Boston, Lincolnshire in October 2012.

His offences included a string of sex attacks, acts of grievous bodily harm, aggravated burglary and knifepoint robbery.

One attack involved Cyrus - who wore a black balaclava- battering a woman at her home in Hampstead Heath, north London, after ringing the doorbell.

He smashed the 63-year-old woman over the head with a piece of wood or stone leaving a 1.5cm cut to her scalp.

Another attack saw Cyrus call at the door of a 61-year-old woman in north-west London and hitting her across the face with a four foot metal bar.

He struck her in the face with the metal bar and told her to "shut up" and "stop screaming", detectives said.

Cyrus then pushed against her door and tried to get in but he ran off when she resisted. The victim was left with a 5cm cut to her face.

A third attack saw the knife-wielding, masked predator break into the bedroom of an 81-year-old woman.

He demanded money and took her bag which contained cash, credit card, photos of her grandchildren and other items.

Cyrus was also found guilty of the knifepoint robbery of a 33-year-old woman who was entering her home in Haringey, north London.

Cyruspulled out a knife and pressed it up against her neck, cutting her slightly to the chin and throat.

She let go of her bag instantly and Cyrus fled with her mobile phone, cash, credit card, keys, glasses and other items.

On other occasions Cyrus leapt out of the dark to expose himself to women walking by and admitted planning to rape one victim.

Cyrus was eventually caught after police received a call from a member of the public who recognised the fugitive from a Wanted leaflet.

Police then spotted Cyrus by Highgate Cemetery on Highgate Hill and he was arrested after a brief struggle.

Acting Detective Superintendent Raffaele D'Orsi described Cyrus as a "forensically aware predator".

At Southwark Crown Court, Cyrus, also known as Ivan Leach, received sentences ranging from two years to life for offences. All sentences are to runconcurrently.

Judge Deborah Taylor said the victims came forward with great fortitude and resolve and that she found that the evidence they gave was "'chilling".

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.