March 12 2014 Latest news:
Emma Youle, News editor
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This chilling CCTV footage shows images of masked attacker Lee Cyrus prowling in the shadows moments before he brutally attacked a 61-year-old woman on her doorstep in Hampstead.
The footage was released by police today after absconded prisoner Cyrus, 48, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court of a string of offences after going on-the-run in October last year.
Among his shocking list of indictments was an attack on a 61-year-old woman with a four-foot metal bar on her doorstep in Gainsborough Gardens, Hampstead.
The woman heard a light knock at her door and when she partially opened it Cyrus, who was wearing a black balaclava, struck her in the face with the bar before telling her to “shut up” and “stop screaming”.
He then pushed her against the door to tried to force his way in before running off.
The whole terrifying attack was captured on CCTV.
Cyrus, who is also known as Ivan Leach, had escaped from HMP North Sea Camp open prison in Lincolnshire on October 9 last year.
Within weeks of his disappearance there were a number of reports of a man indecently exposing himself on Hampstead Heath.
Between October and December a series of violent attacks were also carried out on vulnerable older women.
The court heard that on a number of occasions Cyrus was armed with a knife and wearing a black balaclava as he stalked and terrorised woman who were walking on Hampstead Heath or lived nearby.
His crime spree was brought to an end on Sunday, December 2 last year when police were called to an incident after Cyrus waited in the shadows late at night before leaping out and exposing himself to a woman walking home alone who he threatened to rape.
Within minutes of Cyrus indecently exposing himself to the 45-year-old woman in Dartmouth Park Hill, he was arrested and taken to Kentish Town Police Station.
Acting Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi said: “Lee Cyrus is a violent predator.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Cyrus’ arrest on the night in question prevented further serious injuries to other victims.
“Cyrus’ conviction means that the female public are much safer.”
For more Ham&High coverage of the court case, follow this link.