Police blunders that left ANOTHER serial rapist free to attack 20 more terrified women on their doorstep
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:32 AM on 27th March 2009
Police yesterday apologised for appalling blunders that left a sex beast free to claim at least 20 extra victims.
Kirk Reid became a prime suspect in 2004 for dozens of attacks on women walking home alone. But, because officers failed to question him, he was able to extend his reign of terror for four more years.
The 44-year-old chef and children’s football coach was arrested last year only after the case was passed to specialist detectives. They took five days to crack the assaults dating back seven years.
Reid’s DNA was found to link him with a rape and two indecent assaults in 2001 and 2002. In all, the detectives connected him to attacks on 71 women in South London but believe there may have been hundreds more.
Many of the victims were fumbling for their doorkeys when Reid – described as having ‘crazy eyes’ – pounced.
A jury convicted him yesterday of 26 attacks, including two rapes. The inexplicable failure by officers to arrest him when he formally became a suspect has rocked Scotland Yard.
It has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The Met has also taken the unprecedented step of issuing a full apology to the women who could have been spared a terrifying ordeal had officers done their job properly.
* Victim: 'It's shocking, he could have been caught years earlier'
Commander Mark Simmons, who has overall responsibility for investigating serious sex attacks, said: ‘It is clear from the evidence heard in court that the standard of investigation was not what we as an organisation, or the victims, should have expected.
‘Reid should have been arrested sooner and I, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service am sorry those women who were subsequently attacked by him have been caused unnecessary suffering.’
The blunders are even worse than those made in the case of John Worboys, who was convicted earlier this month of drugging and sexually assaulting women in the back of his taxi.
The black cab rapist attacked 30 women after he was arrested and released.
One senior Met source said: ‘Reid is ten times worse than Worboys. This was horrendous mismanagement on a massive scale. It was total and abject failure not to catch Reid sooner and there is no excuse for it.’
Deborah Glass of the IPCC said the four-year delay in the case was a cause for concern.
She added: ‘It takes courage for victims of serious sexual offences to come forward and report their ordeal to police.
‘That is why they have every right to expect the highest possible level of response.
‘When this does not happen, victims should have confidence the police will be held to account – and that real change will result.’
Following a review, the Met has decided to place its borough Sapphire sex offence units under central command.
At Kingston Crown Court, Judge Shani Barnes praised the officers who caught Reid but voiced sharp criticism of the ‘years of inadequate work’.
Reid would follow lone women on their way home on the Tube or on night buses after nights out in Central London. A keen athlete, he used his powerful 6ft 2inframe to overwhelm his victims on their doorsteps. They would be wrestled to the ground where he would molest them.
Most attacks took place in Balham, Clapham and Tooting – not far from Reid’s home in Colliers Wood.
In September 2002, the Met linked 26 crimes and had obtained DNA of the offender. By the end of 2004, the number of assaults under investigation had risen to 60.
Reid had come to the attention of police 12 times by then but was never visited or asked for the DNA sample that would have condemned him.
Finally, in January 2008, the case was passed to the Met’s homicide and serious crime command. Within five days, Detective Inspector Justin Davies and his team had charged Reid.
They managed to trace only 50 of his 71 victims because of the length of time that had elapsed.
Reid pleaded guilty to two attacks and, following his sixweek trial, was convicted of 26 more, including rapes in 2002 and 1995. He will be sentenced later this year after psychiatric assessment.
Police found hundreds of horrific porn films on his computer depicting stalking and rape.
His half-brother Roger, a Met police constable, played a role in bringing him to justice.
The court heard that Reid confessed the crimes to him during a conversation in cells at court.
He said his brother wore a ‘pathetic’ expression before suddenly saying: ‘I did it.’