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BRITAINS most wanted serial rapist was snared in this Rugby hotel by his lust for call-girls.

Rugby police arrested Keith Samuels in a bedroom of the Alma Lodge Hotel in Albert Street after a tip-off from a call-girl who claimed he'd paid her with a dud cheque.

Officers had no idea they had captured the evil rapist being hunted by three police forces until later. But a clever hunch led officers to do a simple DNA test on the quiet, unassuming man in the cells of the Newbold Road police station and within days the 14-year hunt for the man who had terrorised women across the south was over. Det Sgt Howard Ormsby led a small team of officers at Rugby who helped solve one of Britain's most puzzling rape cases.

"To be honest it was pure luck we caught him when we did and he could have quite easily have slipped through our fingers because on the face of it the crime was fairly innocuous," he said.

"We received a tip-off from a call-girl who claimed a man she'd arranged to meet was passing stolen cheques. She had the presence of mind to call us when he turned up for their meeting and managed to stall him in the hotel while she went to call us and we turned up thinking this would be a relatively simple fraud case."

But the officers soon realised Samuels was more than a fraudster with a taste for call-girls when they pulled him in on November 25 last year.

"When we arrested him he went berserk," said DS Ormsby, "He didn't want to be taken in and that isn't the kind of reaction you normally get from someone who's just being pulled in on suspicion of fraud.

"He put up a fight and had to be wrestled to the ground and once we'd got him in the police car he tried to get out as the officers were driving off - something clearly wasn't right and we were suspicious straight away."

Officers left Samuels to cool down in the cells overnight and soon realised the name he'd given them was false.

"By the time he was interviewed the next morning he had given a proper address in Northampton and he suggested all he wanted to do was tell us the truth about the cheque books and leave, which was very different from his behaviour the night before."

Northampton officers were sent to search his house and some more cheque books were discovered. "He told us he'd bought the cheque books from a man in a pub and used them on a number of occasions and he was generally very forthcoming in the interview.

"When we arrested him he was a carrying a briefcase full of pornographic materials and the call-girl told us he'd asked to buy her used underwear at their earlier meeting. She said he had never been violent but we were still suspicious."

Aware of Operation Quicksilver based at Northampton Police HQ, the officers realised Samuels fitted the description for the man wanted for the rapes and did a simple mouth swab test to take a DNA sample.

"We asked him if he'd ever given a DNA sample before and he told us he'd drooled into a plastic cup for police many years ago," said DS Ormsby.

"This got us thinking too because that is a technique police used years ago for collecting samples and it suggested he may have been investigated before for a sexual offence."

After the samples were taken Samuels was bailed and allowed to walk free.

"We were happy with who he was but everything about him fitted the profile of the Quicksilver investigation - his geographical location, his appearance and his behaviours - it all added up.

"So we paid extra for the DNA to be processed quickly because we were so suspicious."

Samuels' DNA matched that taken from the rapes perfectly and the team discovered he was eighth on a list of suspects drawn up by Quicksilver detectives.

It was police work at its best but DS Ormsby is characteristically modest about the police work which led to the capture of Britain's most wanted serial rapist.

"It is a good feeling and the whole team were delighted we'd got him," he said, "We had a beer or two with the lads from the Quicksilver incident room and it was a good feeling to have him off the streets."

DS Ormsby also praised the call-girl who helped catch Samuels. "She did the responsible thing and we are glad she got in touch with us about the cheque," he said, "When she was told about Samuels and what he was charged with she was naturally very upset - she'd been extremely close to a very dangerous man.

"Everyone involved did their job very well and we're glad Rugby officers played a part in seeing he doesn't do this again for a very long time."

Tests that ended terror

TWO tiny mouth swabs were all it took to nail Samuels, whose reign of terror spanned four counties including Warwickshire.

Before the rape in Leamington, Samuels attacked five young women in Northampton, from July 30, 1984 to April 15,1987.

A 28-year-old woman was raped in New Bradwell, Milton Keynes on June 6, 1989.

Advances in technology meant a DNA sample was developed.

Seven months later, on January 22, 1990, a 25-year-old woman was raped in her home in Reading.

Police officers hunting the attacker contacted more than 1,300 households and read through more than 4,000 reports and messages.

Using criteria created by an offender profile, an original list of more than 2,500 males wanted for DNA testing was reduced to 75.

All individuals were, like Samuels, black males aged between 27 and 37 who had lived in a certain part of Northampton.

An appeal on BBC's Crimewatch UK programme in November resulted in more than 700 calls.

Fear led to Leamington visit

SERIAL rapist Keith Samuels carried out his seventh sex attack in Leamington because he was being hunted in a different town, say police.

Father-of-two Samuels, 35, made the 30-mile trip from Northampton to brutally rape a Leamington woman in her own bed in July 1990.

Det Supt Chris Cross, of Northamptonshire Police, said Samuels was so worried about being caught he went further afield to commit his crimes.

He said: "Samuels had no links in Leamington. He went there because it was just down the road."

Det Supt Cross said the former factory worker carried out a similar rape in Milton Keynes.

Samuels's reign of terror spanned four counties from 1984 to 1990. He was eventually caught last December by Warwickshire police officers investigating stolen cheque offences.

They grew suspicious when Samuels violently resisted arrest for a pounds 120 cheque offence and alerted Operation Quicksilver officers when his profile fitted the description of the rapist.


Nightmare over at last

AN EIGHT-YEAR nightmare is finally over for the Leamington woman subjected to a brutal rape by Samuels.

Police say his imprisonment means the 42-year-old victim can look to the future for the first time since the terrifying attack in her home on July 17, 1990.

Det Con Tracey Stokes, who acted as the victim's liaison officer, said the woman was still coming to terms with what had happened. "She was most upset when we told her the case had been reopened - it brought it all back," she said.

"It is still very harrowing for her, but it is now a point in her life where she can move on from what happened to her eight years ago."

Det Con Stokes added: "She never slept through the night without waking up or hearing bumps and wondering whether he had returned."

'Scream and you'll die' - his evil words

THE first of rapist Keith Samuels's eight victims was a 25-year- old woman.

She had gone to bed at her home in Northampton shortly after 11pm on July 30, 1984, when she was confronted by a masked man with a knife, who told her: ''Scream, and you'll die.''

He then raped her.

His next three attacks all involved women aged 22, and followed a similar pattern in which they were attacked in their own beds - in one case, with the victim's four-year-old son sleeping nearby.

Afterwards, she was told not to call the police, with the threat: ''Don't forget I see you take your kid to school and I'll come back to get you.''

The attacks occurred on June 26, 1985, April 28, 1986, and October, 1986.

The fifth and final attack in Northampton was on April 15, 1987, when Samuels attacked a 26-year-old woman in her own bed at about midnight, threatening her with a knife and holding her by the throat.

Bizarrely, Samuels then started to talk to the woman about developing a relationship and suggested they should meet the following day.

Two of those five women contracted gonorrhoea as a result of being raped. One of the victims was a woman with no previous sexual experience.

The sixth attack was in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, on June 6, 1989; the seventh in Reading, Berkshire, on January 22, 1990.

He struck for the final time in Leamington on July 17, 1990, attacking a 34-year-old woman as she slept at home at about 4am.

One of the rape victims said: ''I'm relieved he has been caught. I think everyone would say that. We can carry on with our own lives.

''This is something I never thought would happen. Obviously, they have new technology now. That is why they have managed to arrest somebody years later.

''I had almost given up hope. It is dreadful. You have to try to put it to the back of your mind. You say 'I don't want to let this overtake my life. I have got to get on with my life.'

''This is how you try to get on with it the best you can. It affects all of your life. It can take a good few years to come to terms with it. Because of what happened, you are very vulnerable.

She added: ''When I found he lived in Northampton, found out how close he had lived to me, I felt a little bit angry. That anger has gone now but you realise how vulnerable you were.

''I have seen him - in December, at one of the remand hearings. I felt I had to see him because it was the end of a nightmare. I know who he is now.

''I don't think I have any feelings about him at all. I'm just glad he has been caught. He has got to answer now for what he has done.''

The woman added: ''The police have done a good job and they deserve a lot of praise. They've been very supportive over the past year.''
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Article Details
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Author:Tolfts, Lisa; Keay, Rebecca
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 15, 1999
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