'Dangerous' Tooting sex attacker jailed for life after raping elderly woman, 81, at knife point in south London

Francesca Gillett
Dangerous: Anthony James Roberts, aged 41: Met Police

A dangerous sex predator who kidnapped and raped an 81-year-old woman in a vicious south London attack has been jailed for life.

Anthony James Roberts, 41, from Tooting was given three life sentences after admitting he raped the pensioner in Balham earlier this year.

The depraved attacker had been sitting next to his elderly victim on a bus in the minutes leading up to the attack, which happened on Friday, February 10.

When she got off the bus at around 8.30pm, he followed her to Balham High Road before creeping up on her from behind and threatening her.

Roberts, of Holmbury Court, told the woman he had a knife and would kill her if she made any noise.

He then took her to a secluded spot and raped her, taking most of her clothing before letting her go.

The distressed victim went home and told a family member what had happened. She was taken to hospital for medical treatment because of injuries sustained in the attack.

Detectives traced the attack to Roberts after a local police officer had reported seeing him in the area.

Officers stormed his home and seized the victim’s clothes, which Roberts had recently washed.

He was charged with two counts of rape and one count of kidnap or falsely imprisoning a person with intent to commit a sexual offence.

DI Melissa Laremore from the Met’s special sex offences squad, said Roberts is a “very dangerous offender who subjected the elderly victim to a vicious rape”.

She added: “Women and the wider public are safer now that he is facing life imprisonment.

"I would like to pay tribute to the victim who has been extremely brave in assisting officers and providing descriptions of her attacker and the ordeal she went through, which helped us identify Roberts within days of the attack.

“The trauma will undoubtedly stay with her, but I hope that she takes some comfort now that her attacker is off the streets.

"Attacks of this horrific nature are extremely rare but when they do happen, we are committed to catching the perpetrator and bringing them to justice."

He was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday to three life sentences for kidnap and two counts of rape. They will be served concurrently.