Man pleads guilty to rape and assault in Ravenscourt Park

Operation Sapphire, the Metropolitan Police Service's specialist unit dealing with sexual offences, has today seen success at the Old Bailey when Michael Carr, aged 36, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the brutal rape and assault of a 25-year-old woman.

On August 17th 2001, the victim was walking home at around 11pm, from Ravenscourt Park station, north along Ravenscourt Road, when she became aware of someone following her. She was approached by Carr who attempted to talk to her whilst she continued walking. As she approached her front door in a near by street, he grabbed her around the neck and held a sharp object against her throat, threatening to stab her unless she opened her door.

Although the victim opened the communal door to the house, Carr dragged her out again once he realised that her boyfriend was at home in their flat coming off the shared hallway. Carr forced the victim into Ravenscourt Park where he threatened to kill her before proceeding to indecently assault and rape her.

After the ordeal he led her from the park and forced her to withdraw £20 so that he could get a taxi home. They continued to walk east along King Street and when the victim spotted a 24-hour shop she persuaded Carr that she needed a drink. She managed to run into the shop where the sales assistant and other customers came to her aid and contacted police. By this point it was almost three and half hours after Carr had first approached her.

A press appeal led to Carr being identified by a number of people and police in the Republic of Ireland arrested him on 8 days later in the Republic of Ireland for separate offences. Earlier this month Carr was extradited back to the UK after completing a prison sentence in Ireland. Following interview, he was charged the same day with burglary with intent to rape, false imprisonment, indecent assault, actual bodily harm and two counts of rape.

He pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and one count of burglary. This was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service, which will provide no evidence in relation to these two matters. Sentencing has been adjourned until 28 February at the Old Bailey.

DS Howard Holt, who led the investigation for Operation Sapphire, said: "This was a horrendous and completely unprovoked attack by a stranger who subjected the victim to a demeaning and violent sexual assault. This man was caught through the public identifying him in our media appeals and I hope that the conclusion of today's case demonstrates to the public how their help is integral to today's successful outcome."

January 31, 2003