March 12 2014 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Friday, December 13, 2013
A dangerous predator who stalked and attacked a string of women while on the run from prison sniggered as he was handed a life sentence and told he must serve at least 11 years in prison today.
Lee Cyrus, 48, formerly known as Ivan Leach, sparked a nationwide manhunt after absconding from an open prison in Lincolnshire while on day release on October 9 last year.
After fleeing prison, Cyrus travelled to London and lived rough on Hampstead Heath, beginning a six-week spree of terrifying attacks on lone women.
During this time, he held a woman at knife-point and was carrying a blade when he smashed his way into an 81-year-old’s home.
Sitting at Southwark Crown Court today, Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced Cyrus to life in prison and told him he could not be considered for parole for at least 11 years.
She said: “There can be no doubt that you are a dangerous man. These offences fulfill the criteria for a life sentence. That is the only proper sentence.”
As he was led away from the dock, Cyrus appeared to snigger at the prison officer accompanying him.
The court heard he did not accept his conviction and maintained his innocence.
Earlier this month, a jury of four men and eight women found Cyrus guilty of five counts of exposure, wounding with intent, unlawful wounding, affray, aggravated burglary, robbery, burglary.
He was cleared of a further charge of exposure, which allegedly took place in West Heath Road, in Hampstead, on October 28, and attempted rape.
After committing the litany of offences in Hampstead Heath and Golders Green area, the fugitive was eventually snared by a policeman who spotted him walking along Highgate Hill, in Highgate, in the early hours of December 2 last year.
During his month-long trial at the court, Cyrus insisted police had simply “got the wrong man”.
Cyrus had originally absconded from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Linconshire, where he was serving a life sentence for attacking a 92-year-old in a violent robbery inside her Preston home.