Saturday September 9, 2006
A sex attacker who recorded details of his assaults in a "trophy" diary was jailed for life yesterday. Lester Ford, 24, assaulted four women between March 2003 and November 2005, returning home after each attack to write down descriptions of what he had done to his victims.
Police discovered the journal, along with the belongings of some of the women he had attacked, when they arrested him a few days after his final assault.
Southwark crown court in south London was told that Ford, who threatened to kill his victims if they did not submit to his demands, had had "little chance of developing normally". The jury heard that his emotional development had been stunted because he had been brought up in a brothel run by an overbearing mother who exerted a malign influence over him. Doctors who examined him concluded he was more like a 14-year-old boy than a man of 24.
In each of the attacks, Ford threatened his victims with a knife or an iron bar. Two of his victims opened the door to him and were attacked in their homes. On one occasion he impersonated a police officer to gain access to his victim's home.
The woman had been working into the early hours of the morning when she heard a knock at the door and a male voice saying: "It's the police. We've found someone round the back."
As she opened the door, Ford forced her back into the house, holding a knife to her throat, and sexually assaulted her.
Ford, of Stepney, east London, had admitted 15 counts including two of rape, three of sexual assault and three of indecent assault as well as kidnapping and robbery. Judge Anthony Pitts said he posed a "serious risk of harm to women" and ordered him to serve five concurrent life sentences. Ford was also ordered to remain on the sex offenders register for life.
The judge added: "I could exhaust the dictionary's list of adjectives in describing these attacks - they were appalling, brutal, outrageous and terrifying."
The judge said Ford's victims had been left scarred by what he had done and his actions had "ruined their self-confidence and changed their personalities". However, he noted Ford's "very difficult childhood". The court had earlier heard of the abuse that Ford had suffered at the hands of a family member and how his mother had run a brothel from the family home while he was a child. "I've been told of the problems you had from an early age, perhaps particularly with your mother, who was very overbearing, and that relationship has prevented you from developing normally," said Judge Pitts.