London

Orpington rapist struck after Met Police mistakes

James Steve Isted,
Image caption James Isted was found guilty of raping two women

Police have admitted a woman might have been spared a rape ordeal but for mistakes made which saw her attacker released.

The victim was raped in Orpington by a man who carried out a similar attack in the same place two years before.

James Steve Isted, 27, was held after the first offence, but then freed, the Metropolitan Police (MPS) said.

But the force refused to say what mistakes had been made because an internal inquiry is taking place.

Isted was arrest on suspicion of a rape which happened on 30 September 2011, but was then released, the Met said.

He went on to rape the second victim on 7 May this year.

'Could be prevented'

A Met spokesman said: "The MPS acknowledges that in this case we made mistakes, and we have apologised to the victim of the second offence.

"Had certain actions been taken earlier, a second offence may have been prevented."

The Met said it would not give further details on what actions could have been taken earlier, or what mistakes it made, because an investigation by its Directorate of Professional Standards was ongoing.

Following a three-week trial at Croydon Crown Court, Isted was found guilty of two counts of rape, two of robbery and one of assaulting a police officer.

He is due to be sentenced on 7 February.

Engagement ring

In the first rape, the 17-year-old victim was hit over the back of her head and dragged into the graveyard of nearby All Saints Church.

She was subjected to a prolonged rape and her handbag and mobile phone were stolen.

On 4 October 2011, Isted was arrested and subsequently released on bail.

At the start of August 2012, he was advised he was no longer on police bail due to a lack of evidence against him at that time, but the investigation was ongoing.

On 7 May, Isted approached a 27-year-old woman from behind and threatened her with a knife before raping her in the grounds of the church.

A member of public who witnessed the attack alerted police, who arrested Isted nearby.

He was found in possession of the victim's bank card and jewellery including her engagement ring.

Following his conviction, the Met said: "We voluntarily referred the matter to the IPCC."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites