March 11 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
A sex beast who stalked a string of women while on the run from a life sentence for beating a 92-year-old widow senseless is facing years behind bars.
Lee Cyrus, 48, formerly known as Ivan Leach, launched his terrifying campaign of violence and exposure after he wandered out of North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Linconshire.
Cyrus sparked a nationwide manhunt after absconding from the open prison, while on day release on October 9 last year.
He donned a balaclava before prowling for victims at Boston Cemetery and Crematorium, then travelling to Hampstead Heath, Southwark Crown Court heard.
During his crime spree last autumn, he held a woman at knife-point and was carrying a blade when he smashed his way into an 81-year-old’s home.
The fugitive was eventually snared after a sharp-eyed policeman spotted him walking along Highgate Hill, Highgate, in the early hours of December 2 last year.
During his month-long trial at the court, he insisted police had simply “got the wrong man”.
But a jury of four men and eight women who found Cyrus guilty of five counts of exposure, wounding with intent, unlawful wounding, affray, aggravated burglary, robbery, burglary, after 10 hours and two minutes deliberation.
He was cleared of a further charge of exposure, which allegedly took place in Jack Straws Car Park, Hampstead, on October 28, and attempted rape.
Sporting a moustache and wearing a brown t-shirt, Cyrus shook his head as the verdict was announced.
Adjourning sentence, Judge Deborah Taylor said: “It is a matter of grave concern the level of supervision in the community which was given to the defendant prior to his parole board hearing in this case.
“It’s something the court would wish to hear more about prior to the sentencing hearing.”
Prior to his escape, Cyrus had been living in lodgings close to the open prison with other lags who were being prepared for release in the community, and working in the nearby cemetery.
The only restriction on his liberty was a requirement that he sign himself in and out when leaving, the court heard.
The sexual predator failed to return to the prison lodgings on October 9 before boarding a London-bound coach on October 20.
Prosecutor Christopher Amis told the jury: “The crown’s case is that for six weeks, Lee Cyrus, on a number of occasions whilst armed with a knife and wearing a black balaclava, stalked and terrorised female members of the public walking on and living in Hampstead Heath.
“His offences consisted initially of indecently exposing himself to women while walking on the Heath.
“On most occasions he was careful to disguise his face as he prowled wooded and secluded areas.
“His offences increased in seriousness.
“They graduated to brutal attacks on elderly females, who he targeted because they were alone in their own homes.
“They included the robbery of one woman, who had a knife held to her neck, the knife-point aggravated burglary of an 81-year-old woman’s home, and culminated in an incident in which the defendant, waiting in the shadows late one night, leapt out and exposed himself to a woman who was walking home alone.”
Cyrus, of no fixed address, will be sentenced on December 13.