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2,000 men take DNA tests in 12-year hunt for night stalker'

PUBLISHED: 15:16 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 09:43 12 August 2010

DETECTIVES hunting Britain s most wanted serial rapist-burglar have taken more than 2,000 DNA samples from suspects. Officers have undertaken 2,054 tests, at a cost of £102,700, as part of a 12-year inquiry to catch a rapist dubbed the night stalker .

DETECTIVES hunting Britain's most wanted serial rapist-burglar have taken more than 2,000 DNA samples from suspects.

Officers have undertaken 2,054 tests, at a cost of £102,700, as part of a 12-year inquiry to catch a rapist dubbed the "night stalker".

The light-skinned black man who targets elderly people is responsible for more than 100 offences in south and south-east London, including Sid-

cup and Orpington, dating back to 1990.

A team of 29 police officers and staff based at Lewisham police station, working to identify the culprit as part of Operation Minstead, have obtained key information about the attacker from forensic samples left at more than 10 crime scenes.

Specialist ancestral analysis revealed both his parents originally came from the Windward Islands in the Caribbean.

As a result, investigators drew up a list of 21,500 suspects and began asking men for voluntary DNA samples to eliminate them from the inquiry.

Eight police officers travelled to the chain of Caribbean islands which include Trinidad, Tobago, St Lucia and St Vincent.

The "night stalker" has eluded detectives despite facing a huge range of police tactics, from surveillance to the offer of a £40,000 reward.

Some of his victims, men and women aged between 68 and 93, have been raped and sexually assaulted.

The total number of attacks linked to the man during his 19-year reign of terror is now at least 108.

The culprit is thought to be an employed black man, aged between 35 and 45, who masks his crimes behind the veneer of a respectable life.

He is aged about 40, between 5ft 10in and 6ft 2in tall, slim, of athletic build, softly spoken and polite.

The "night stalker" breaks into the homes of the elderly late at night, cutting telephone and electricity lines or removing light bulbs.

He spends hours in the house before he finds his chosen victim and shines a torch into the victim's face, asking for money.

His victims are subjected to horrific ordeals, sometimes rape or sexual assault, before he leaves the property without taking much at all.

Police believe he last struck in May last year in West Wickham. His previous burglaries that year were in Norbury, Norwood, Downham and Lee Green, and had what police call a "sexual element".

Before these, there were four similar offences in November 2007, in Norwood and East Dulwich.

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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