London

Rapist 'grabbed women going home'

A rapist targeted women walking home in the early hours of the morning, the Old Bailey has heard.

Lawrence Dugbazah, 31, from south London, is accused of the sexual assaults over a 10-week period in 2010.

He pleaded guilty to raping a 19-year-old in Bloomsbury on 9 January 2010 but denied the rape of a woman on 21 March 2010 in St James'.

He also denied the attempted rape and sexual assault of a woman in south London on 13 March 2010.

Mr Dugbazah, from Peckham, dragged the women to the ground and put his hand in their mouths to stop them screaming, said Tana Adkin, prosecuting.

'Covered eyes'

Miss Adkin said the first rape was filmed on CCTV after Mr Dugbazah picked the teenager up and threw her to the floor of a cafe doorway in Museum Street near the British Museum.

"While trying to subdue her, he sticks his hand down her throat to stop her screaming. He threatens to kill her," said Miss Adkin.

After tearing her dress and raping her, Mr Dugbazah told her to get up, covering her eyes so she did not see him before he ran off.

The defendant's DNA was matched when he was arrested for an unrelated offence.

The prosecution alleged that he had also attacked two other women.

'Crossed road'

One, a 22-year-old, was pulled to the ground in Lewisham, south London, but escaped after a passer-by disturbed the attacker.

The other, an 18-year-old, was in Palace Street, near Buckingham Palace, going to a friend's house after spending the evening at a club in the King's Road, in south-west London, when she spotted a man watching her.

Prosecutors allege the defendant crossed the road and followed her, grabbed her from behind and put his hand in her mouth to stop her screaming.

She was shoved into an alcove near a shop doorway and pulled to the ground where she was raped, the court heard.

She eventually managed to get away and ran semi-naked to a cab waiting further along the road.

Miss Adkin said a researcher working for the police analysing 958 stranger rapes in London, had identified 14 striking similarities between the three attacks.

The case continues.

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