Lancashire

Man 'broke into houses in bid to sexually assault elderly women'

Preston Crown Court
Image caption Zsolt Suhaj "carefully watched" his victims' houses before breaking in, Preston Crown Court heard

An alleged rapist broke into elderly women's houses at night with the intention of sexually assaulting them as they slept, a court has heard.

Zsolt Suhaj, 25, is charged with raping a 66-year-old woman in her Lancashire home when she went back to bed after getting up in the night for a drink.

Mr Suhaj, of Nelson, Lancashire, is also charged with sexually assaulting a woman, 70, Preston Crown Court heard.

He denies the charges but admitted burgling houses for "money and gold".

Mr Suhaj also denies six counts of trespassing with intent to commit sexual offences and one count of intending to trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Jurors were told that in the first incident, in May 2016, a 70-year-old grandmother, whose husband was sleeping in another room, woke to find the accused with his hand between her legs.

Lancashire Police initially believed she may have been "hallucinating or dreaming" because the case was so unusual, prosecutor Jeremy Grout-Smith said.

He said: "They, of course, did not have the advantage of knowing, as you know, about the other alleged attacks of a similar nature."

In the final offence in October 2016, the defendant had climbed through the window of the victim's home at about 04:00 BST before attacking her, Mr Grout-Smith said.

The victim later found a knife on her bed, the court heard.

Mr Grout-Smith said the defendant's claim that sexual activity with the 66-year-old woman had been consensual was "absurd".

The trial continues.

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