'Manhunt: The Night Stalker': The chilling true story that inspired Martin Clunes's ITV drama


Pictured:MARTIN CLUNES as DCI Colin Sutton.

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Martin Clunes as DCI Colin Sutton in Manhunt: The Night Stalker. (ITV)

Gripping new ITV drama Manhunt: The Night Stalker retells the chilling true story of DCI Colin Sutton and his mission to find a serial rapist in London.

The series, starring Martin Clunes, is based on Sutton's real-life diaries, and exposes how criminal Delroy Grant escaped justice for more than 15 years.

As the new show plays out over the next week, we look back into the real investigation and what happened to ensure Grant was finally taken down.

Here’s everything you need to know about Manhunt: The Night Stalker...

Who is Delroy Grant?

Delroy Grant is a serial burglar and rapist who mainly operated around south-east London between 1992 and 2009.

Undated Metropolitan Police handout photo of Night Stalker Delroy Grant who has been convicted of being one of the most prolific and depraved sex attackers in British history.
Delroy Grant was finally caught after an 11-year investigation into finding the serial robber and rapist (Metropolitan Police)

He would deliberately target elderly women who lived alone, breaking into their home late at night before orchestrating his attack while wearing dark clothing and a balaclava.

Breaking in through the back of the house, often removing window panes or climbing through open windows, he would rip out telephone wires and disabled the lights.

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Victims ranged in age from 65 to 93 years old, and often took years to come forward because they were too traumatised, or feared bothering the police.

One sexual assault was so violent that the victim nearly died.

However, other survivors recalled him being gentle and seemingly used to looking after the elderly. One robbery did not evolve into a rape after the woman involved asked him “how his mother would feel” about his behaviour.

Undated Metropolitan Police handout photo of a crowbar in the boot of the Vauxhall Zafira which Delroy Grant used to enter a house on October 18, 2009. Night Stalker Delroy Grant has been convicted of being one of the most prolific and depraved sex attackers in British history.
Grant's car contained a balaclava and crowbar after he was caught attempting a burglary (Metropolitan Police)

Despite demanding sex and expensive items from his targets, he would often not actually use anything he stole, discarding credit cards he had pin numbers for and even throwing away a wad of £5 notes.

He is suspected of being involved in more than 100 incidentsand was dubbed "The Night Stalker".

Where is he now?

On November 16, 2009, Grant was captured and arrested as part of Operation Minstead, 11 years after the operation began.

They may have caught Grant sooner after a reported incident in 1999 meant Grant’s DNA was not matched with that found at the crime scene.

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However, he continued to evade capture due to there seeming to be no connection between each of the victims, with attacks sometimes being years apart and ranging east London to Surrey.

DCI Colin Sutton joined the investigation in 2009, following his help in securing the conviction of Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield.

LONDON - FEBRUARY 25:  DCI Colin Sutton speaks to the press outside the Old Bailey on February 25, 2008 in London, England. Former bouncer Levi Bellfield (39), of west London, was found guilty of the murder of Amelie Delagrange (22), Marsha McDonnell (19) and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy (aged 18 at the time of the attack) carried out between 2001 and 2004, and is due to be sentenced tomorrow.  (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)
DCI Colin Sutton helped catch Grant after helping to secure the conviction of Milly Dowler's killer Levi Bellfield. (PA)

He was able to pin down a connection to a Croydon street, where more officers were deployed.

Grant was in the process of a burglary when he was caught, with items including a balaclava and crowbar found in his car.

Convicted in March 2011, Grant, now 64, is serving four life sentences with a minimum of 27 years for his crimes.

Watch: Martin Clunes reveals how he copes with Manhunt's dark storyline