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OAP rapist may have attacked others

A man who was jailed for life after forcing his way into a pensioner's flat and raping her may have attacked other women, police fear.

Robert Lashley, 33, targeted the 80-year-old woman after she left her home to go to a newsagents.

When she returned to her west London flat, where she lived alone, he followed her into a communal entrance and forced his way in, carrying out a "horrific sexual assault".

Lashley, of Blythe Road, Kensington, was sentenced to life imprisonment at Isleworth Crown Court and ordered to serve a minimum of seven and a half years before he can be considered for release, Scotland Yard said.

The court heard that he had previously raped a 59-year-old woman, receiving an eight-year sentence in 2004.

Police believe he might have attacked more women and are appealing for other possible victims to come forward.

Lashley targeted his latest victim at 7.30am on August 16 last year as she left her home in Shepherd's Bush to go to a nearby shop.

CCTV footage showed him loitering outside the elderly woman's block of flats, and as she returned he followed her into the communal entrance before bursting into her home and raping her.

The woman reported the assault to police and Lashley was arrested and charged the following day after officers recognised him from the footage.

He was convicted of rape on January 19 after a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Lucy Mawdsley said Lashley was a sexual predator who "targeted one of the most vulnerable members of our community and subjected her to a horrific sexual assault".

She said: " This was all the more distressing as the offence occurred in her home, where she should have felt safe. I hope that the sentence today reflects how seriously the police and courts view this type of vile offending.

"I also hope that this sentence will encourage more victims of sexual offending to approach police, in the knowledge you will be believed no matter what age you are, and that the police will seek prosecutions for sexual offences.

"I would like to pay tribute to the victim of this offence. She is a spirited lady who showed great courage and determination, not only during the offence, but also in attending court and giving evidence against Lashley.

"She has found this experience extremely traumatic and I hope she can recover from this to enjoy her retirement in peace."

Det Con Mawdsley urged anyone who thinks they might have been a victim of Lashley or who has any further information that may be of importance to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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