A prisoner who broke out of jail has been found guilty of committing a string of sexual and violent offences against women while on the run.
Preston-born Lee Cyrus, 48, who also goes by the alias Ivan Leach, went missing from HMP North Sea Camp open prison at Boston in Lincolnshire on October 9 last year after going on day release.
For two months he tormented women in the Hampstead Heath area of Camden until he was caught red-handed on December 2 last year after waiting in the shadows to attack a woman, Metropolitan Police have said.
Cyrus was found guilty in Southwark Crown Court today of 11 separate offences he committed during his time on the run.
The court heard within weeks of Cyrus’s disappearance, there were several indecent expose offences reported in Hampstead Heath.
There were also increasingly violent offences committed against vulnerable and generally older women.
On several occasions while armed and wearing a black balaclava, Cyrus stalked and terrorised women. His offending escalated into brutal attacks and knife-point robberies on elderly women alone in their own homes, police said.
Cyrus came unstuck when police were called to an incident where he waited in the shadows late at night on December 2 in Hampstead Heath before leaping out and exposing himself to a 45-year-old woman who was walking home.
Cyrus told the woman he was going to rape her, police said.
But within minutes officers spotted Cyrus by a nearby cemetery and he was arrested after a brief struggle.
He will be sentenced on December 13.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant James Mason said officers had to gather evidence from CCTV, mobile phones, clothing and witnesses to bring “this very dangerous man” to justice.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the unfortunate victims who all suffered at the hands of this violent offender,” Mr Mason said.
Acting Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi said: “Lee Cyrus is a violent predator and when we had the inclination that he may be in Camden, we set about apprehending him as soon as possible, allocating the appropriate resources to the operation.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Cyrus’s arrest on the night in question prevented further serious injuries to other victims.
“Cyrus’s conviction means that the female public are much safer.”
Cyrus pleaded not guilty to all offences.