Met Police 'failed in Night Stalker case' says IPCC
Blunders by police hunting the Night Stalker rapist - including a failure to probe a sighting of his car - left him free for years, a report has said.
Delroy Grant, 53, of Honor Oak, attacked elderly people in London over a period of 17 years. He was jailed for life in March.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report has found seven failings in the original inquiry.
The Metropolitan Police apologised for its failings after the trial.
It has not commented on the latest report.
The IPCC said an eyewitness saw a balaclava-clad man after one of his burglaries in Bromley in 1999, making a note of the registration number of his BMW.
Yet Grant was neither arrested or asked to give a DNA sample. It allowed him to continue attacking elderly people for a decade.
The report also found police failed to follow up "basic" lines in the inquiry, including a failure to obtain statements from the victim or eyewitness, and a failure to arrest and interview Grant while examining his car.
The IPCC said the errors had "potentially dire consequences".
After Grant was convicted, Commander Simon Foy apologised for a paperwork blunder which led to the DNA of another suspect scuppering attempts to catch the attacker.
He said: "We are deeply sorry for the trauma suffered by all those victims and our failure to bring Grant to justice earlier."
Grant was found guilty of 29 offences but officers suspect he was involved in as many as 600 attacks.
Grant was given four life sentences at Woolwich Crown Court.