Kird Reid had 71 Victims – Scotland Yard Apologizes

Reid roamed the streets of south London late at night for 12 years, hunting down and pouncing on single women as they made their way home.

Scotland Yard was forced into making a rare apology for its failings as the case was passed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission – the second of its kind to be referred in two weeks.

Detectives had Reid’s DNA profile on file from 2001 and were soon given the make and registration of his car, linked to an assault.

But despite being alerted to the 44-year-old football referee three times, officers failed to piece the clues together for four years – meaning that dozens of women were attacked because of their inaction.

One long-serving Met police officer said: “These are irremissible failings. There is a lot of soul searching as we ask ourselves why and how this could have happened.”

In January 2008, the case files were finally passed to a Scotland Yard murder detective, who solved in three days the investigation that had faltered for eight years in the hands of a local rape unit in south London.

Police now fear Reid, a chef and referee in local Wandsworth leagues for children, women and men, could have attacked hundreds of women who have yet to come forward.

He now faces a lengthy prison sentence after being found guilty at Kingston Crown Court of sexually attacking 25 women since 1995, two of whom he raped.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting two other women. The case can only now be made public because reporting restrictions have been lifted.

Judge Shani Barnes referred to “years of inadequate work” as she praised the Specialist Crime Directorate, led by Det Insp Justin Davies, for solving the case so quickly.

Calling for psychiatric reports before passing sentence in two months time, she said: “I may have some observations about the unfortunate period of time these matters were allowed to continue through the years at various stages.”

The failings are another blow to the Met’s already damaged reputation for investigating sex crimes.

The Scotland Yard chief in charge of the Sapphire Unit, responsible for rape and sexual offences, apologised to the victims yesterday and announced that an official inquiry had been launched.

It is the second Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation to be initiated in two weeks, following the case of John Worboys, the black cab rapist and one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.

Police in south London missed numerous opportunities to catch him because of a similar series of blunders and a failure in their intelligence system.

Cmdr Mark Simmons, of the Met, said: “It is clear from the evidence heard in court that the standard of investigation was not what we as an organisation, or the victims, should have expected.

“Reid should have been arrested sooner and I, on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service and as head of Sapphire, am sorry those women who were subsequently attacked by him have been caused unnecessary suffering.

“I am very conscious it comes hard on the heels of the John Worboys case and of the potential impact this will have on public confidence, and on people who have suffered sex offences to come forward to us.”

Reid stalked lone women, aged from 18 to 61, by following them home from bus stops or tube stations and attacking them from behind.

He was described by his victims as having a “strange smile” and “crazy eyes” as he silently pinned them to the ground with his hand over their mouth and assaulted them.

His victims included a lawyer, a chartered surveyor and a university lecturer. One woman was six months pregnant when Reid followed her into a lift in her block of flats and grabbed her.

She reported it to police but they later said that the CCTV in the flats was not working and so dropped the case.

Reid was charged and later acquitted in 1995 for an indecent assault on a woman.

The attacks in Wandsworth began in 2001 around areas popular with young professionals such as Clapham, Balham and Tooting.

Police immediately had a lead, having recovered DNA samples that were later found to be that of Reid from his first victim.

But it took almost 26 identical offences to occur before the local Sapphire unit formally linked them and admitted a serial attacker was on the loose, in September 2002.

Three months later Reid was stopped by police in the street after a member of the public had seen him following a lone woman.

No offence was recorded but the details were fed into the intelligence system. Had he been questioned and swabbed for DNA the case would have been solved. It was the first missed opportunity.

In January 2004 a member of the public gave police Reid’s correct car and licence plate details after claiming to have witnessed a sex attack in central London, but the report was not followed up.

The next month, Reid was stopped in the same car tooting at a woman and another note was passed into the intelligence system.

He became one of 11 official suspects in the sex attacks, But, inexplicably, the inquiry stalled and Reid was not questioned, arrested or tested for DNA, which would have confirmed him as the attacker.

In the next four years, Reid attacked at least 20 further women, taking the total amount to 71.

Finally, in January 2008, the files were passed to a Scotland Yard murder and serious crime team.

Mr Davies identified Reid as the suspect immediately and he was arrested, tested for a DNA sample and charged within three days.

When asked why officers in the Sapphire unit had not acted on the information they had, Mr Simmons said: “I have no explanation for that.

“That goes absolutely to the heart of why it has been referred to the IPCC.”

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment