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Who Was The Night Stalker? The True Story Behind ITV’s Latest Crime Drama

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Who Was The Night Stalker? The True Story Behind ITV’s Latest Crime Drama

True crime fans have been gripped by ITV's latest offering this week - Manhunt: The Night Stalker - and they want to know who the real Night Stalker was.

The Night Stalker tells the story of a case which haunted the Met Police for more than 17 years.

Doc Martin's Martin Clunes stars as DCI Colin Sutton, who heads up Operation Minstead - an investigation into the so-called 'Night Stalker,' who got away with robbing, raping and murdering elderly women between 1992 and 2009.

After years of dead-ends, the case is reopened and DCI Sutton, who has a reputation for solving the head-scratchers, leads the investigation to a breakthrough.

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This tense story is told over four one-hour episodes on each night this week. Episode one aired on Monday 20th September.

Who was the Night Stalker?

The case of the Night Stalker is considered one of the most disturbing cases in British crime history, as police desperately tried to catch the vicious Night Stalker, who was later named Delroy Grant.

Delroy Grant was a notorious serial killer, rapist and robber who was operating around South London.

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Delroy Grant.(Credit: PA)
Delroy Grant.(Credit: PA)

Grant was found to be responsible for more than one-hundred assaults on women aged between their 60s and 90s - and it's believed his crimes dated back further than 1992.

Grant was dormant for a large period of time between his attacks, which made it hard for police to catch him. There were just over four years between his first attack in October 1992 and another round of attacks in 1997.

Operation Minsteead was set up in 1998 and lots of incidents which turned out to be unrelated to Grant were reported and subsequently led to dead ends in the investigation.

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One victim had suffered a particularly violent rape from Grant in 1999 and almost died from her injuries. There was another period of dormancy then until 2002, when Grant struck again. Then in the summer of 2003, there were seven confirmed attacks, before Grant seemed to lie low again. His final spate of attacks, before he was caught, took place over several months between the end of 2008 and mid-2009.

It's thought that Grant left such long periods of time between his attacks either because he was ashamed of his violence or that he wanted to ensure he wasn't caught - or possibly both.

Delroy Grant was a carer to his wife, who developed MS, a taxi driver and church-goer, which is why those who knew him were so shocked when he was convicted.

How did the Night Stalker get caught?

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Police officers spotted significant clues in CCTV footage at a cashpoint, where Grant was seen using his victims' credit and debit cards.

Grant had a mask on, so the footage was about to be discarded as useless. But one eagle-eyed officer spotted the reflection of a bus in a shop window on the footage. The police then tracked down that bus and trawled through the CCTV footage on it. They spotted a Vauxhall Zafira near the cashpoint in the footage. Police already suspected this was the car model the killer was driving and so they were able to look at all of the Vauxhall Zafiras registered in the South London area.

Artist impression of Delroy Grant in court in 2010. (Credit: PA)
Artist impression of Delroy Grant in court in 2010. (Credit: PA)

On the evening of Sunday 15th November 2009, Grant's Zafira was spotted parked in the Shirley area of Croydon, where some 70 police officers were staking the area out following a spate of burglaries believed to be the Night Stalker's work.

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Delroy Grant was arrested as he approached his car having just attempted to enter a nearby pensioner's house.

Grant was found guilty of all charges and jailed for life on 25th March 2011.

Featured Image Credit: PA/ITV

Topics: True Crime, TV and Film, ITV

Laura Sanders
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