Fugitive ‘predator’ terrorised women on Hampstead Heath after fleeing prison, court told

Lee Cyrus, formerly known as Ivan Leach, has been convicted of 11 charges

Lee Cyrus, formerly known as Ivan Leach, has been convicted of 11 charges - Credit: Archant

A fugitive who sparked a nationwide manhunt after escaping from prison “stalked and terrorised” women on Hampstead Heath while on the run, a court heard today.

Lee Cyrus, 48, formerly known as Ivan Leach, is accused of committing a series of sexual offences and violent assaults on women in the Hampstead Heath area, including indecent exposure, robbery and attempted rape, between October and December last year.

Today, a jury at the opening of his trial at Southwark Crown Court heard that Cyrus led a “nomadic existence” having escaped North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire, and made his way to north London.

Christopher Amis, prosecuting, described Cyrus as a “predator”, adding: “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 around Hampstead Heath.”

After almost two months on the run, Cyrus was eventually caught by police in Highgate Hill, Highgate, on December 2 last year.

He denies all the charges against him.

The trial continues.

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For full coverage of the trial, see this Thursday’s Ham&High.