The key players
The Good Guys
BRIAN BOWDEN-BROWN: The lead police investigator of ‘The Southwark Rapist’. He came out of retirement to bring the rapist to justice. During his career, this seasoned Detective Chief Inspector had dealt with many murder inquiries, including a dismembered body from a suspected gangland hit. But few cases would affect him as traumatically as this case.
BOB MEADES: A young PC on the Crime Squad at Southwark when the crimes began. As a PC, he’d do the house to house enquiries. Later, as a detective, he’d eventually be face to face in interrogation with the coldest human he’d ever met.
SARAH MUSTOE: The forensic investigator assigned to the Cold Case review. Her microscopic attention to detail would help bring the abuser of the elderly to justice.
His youngest victim was a 57 year old woman. She was left with a broken jaw and a fractured eye socket.
His oldest victim was 83. She was so damaged by the attack that she never spoke again.
The Bad Guy
MICHAEL JOHN ROBERTS: Roberts was born in London in 1966. He started offending aged just 14. By then, he was already known for drink and drug abuse. He soon added burglary to his convictions. Much of his stealing took place in the Southwark area. His MO was to target the homes of elderly or vulnerable people. An average man of average physique he made sure his victims were at a disadvantage. He often waited till they were out shopping before he broke in. As his crimes carried on, the violence he used increased. The petty criminal soon became a fully fledged alcoholic and drug addict.
A neighbour remembered hearing Roberts beat up his ‘girlfriend’. The woman remembers Roberts counting to ten in an effort to calm his rage. Often it didn’t.
Roberts lived just two or three hundred yards from where the first series of offences took place. His victims would all be less than a mile from his then home address.
He wore his hair in a fringe to hide a distinctive scar. And he didn’t like to take off his top as he had many moles and marks on his back.
After his savage attacks, Roberts would often walk the short distance home and have dinner with his girlfriend.