A serial rapist, dubbed the Night Stalker, who terrorised the elderly across south east London over 17 years is the subject of an ITV drama showing this week.

Manhunt: The Night Stalker stars Martin Clunes as real-life former Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton, who led the investigation which ultimately snagged Delroy Grant in 2011.

Grant, who lived Brockley, was found guilty aged 53 of three rapes, one-attempted rape, six indecent assaults, one sexual assault, and 16 burglaries committed between 1992 and 2009, although police estimate he could have been involved in almost 700 crimes.

He mostly struck in Orpington and Shirley, targeting pensioners living alone in semi-detached bungalows or flats.

News Shopper: Delroy Grant tried to blame his ex-wife Delroy Grant tried to blame his ex-wife

A skilled burglar, Grant gained entry to the homes of victim through open windows, or by removing windows entirely, before ripping out telephone wires and disabling light sources.

Many of his victims, who he often abused for several hours, were blind, deaf or had conditions including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

After waking his victims by shining a light in their eyes, Grant would often demand sex, but was known to sometimes spend hours in victims’ homes without assaulting them.

At times, however, he could be extremely violent. In his most violent attack, he raped his victim twice, leaving her bleeding from a perforated bowel, injuries which nearly proved fatal.

Amid mounting pressure on police, who launched operation Minstead in 1998, DCI Colin Sutton was asked to review the 11-year case.

Police missed a key chance to stop Grant in 1999, mistakenly ruling him out of their inquiry when rhe DNA of another suspect with the same name was confused with his.

Manhunt depicts the series of events that led to Grant’s eventual arrest in 2009.

During the trial, Grant tried to pin the blame for the attacks on his ex-wife Janet Watson, by claiming she collected and planted his DNA at the scenes of the crimes.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 27 years Judge Peter Rook told Grant: “Your utter depravity knows no bounds. You have been convicted by the jury of 29 offences most of them are very grave offences.

“You targeted elderly victims living alone. Your actions blighted the remaining precious years of their lives.”

Manhunt: The Night Stalker continues on ITV at 9pm. The final episode airs tomorrow. It is available on the ITV Hub.

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