DNA on discarded glove was key to catching Hampstead Heath predator Lee Cyrus

A discarded glove on Hampstead Heath held the key to ending one of north London’s most terrifying crime sprees, it was revealed this week.

Camden’s top detective said that officers realised they were dealing with one of the nation’s most wanted men, Lee Cyrus, only after finding a black woollen glove during a search of the Heath.

Acting Det Supt Raffaele D’Orsi told of its significance as he described the hunt for Cyrus after the 48-year-old was convicted on Tuesday of a string of violent and sexual offences against women, carried out on or near Hampstead Heath over six weeks last year.

Cyrus had fled an open prison in Lincolnshire in October last year, where he was already serving a life sentence for beating a 92-year-old widow senseless.

Acting Det Supt D’Orsi said: “It was Camden officers who identified Cyrus and linked him with these offences.

“We hunted him down and we found him and arrested him for such horrific and absolutely unnecessary use of force against the ladies he targeted.

“We had started to get a series of indecent exposures on the Heath and after great work from one of the local Camden officers, who found a glove on the Heath, we were able to forensically link him to these terrible crimes.

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“As a result of that, we formed Operation Bosque, a group of dedicated detectives who were brought together to try to identify where he was staying.”

The 48-year-old, formerly known as Ivan Leach, was found guilty on Tuesday of five counts of exposure, wounding with intent, unlawful wounding, affray, aggravated burglary, robbery and burglary.

He was cleared of a further count of exposure and attempted rape.

The glove was discovered as police combed the Heath following reports of a man exposing himself in front of a female dog walker on Sunday, October 28, 2012.

He was finally snared exactly five weeks later on Sunday, December 2 last year, minutes after leaping out and exposing himself to a 45-year-old woman walking home alone. Camden police had ploughed more and more resources into the hunt as his crimes escalated into terrifying attacks on older women in Hampstead and Highgate.

Acting Det Ch Insp D’Orsi said: “I have never come across an individual with such a premeditated, forensic and calculated approach to victimising females.

“London and the areas around London are a much safer place now he has been convicted.”