Trapped by his trophies
Serial sex attacker James Lloyd was jailed because he kept mementos of his crimes
For 20 years, the case of the Dearne Valley shoe rapist remained unsolved. Then, thanks to advances in forensic science – and a lucky break – the attacker was brought to justice.
Between 1983 and 1986, a sex attacker in Yorkshire carried out a series of assaults on women, keeping their shoes as ‘trophies’.
It was a case that caught the attention of crime-writer Peter James, who tells the story in this week’s Written in Blood.
‘The whole nature of this crime was so macabre and bizarre,’ says Peter, creator of detective Roy Grace. ‘Serial killers will often take trophies – a bit of skin, a finger, hair, or something. But the trophies this guy took were very unusual and quite fetish-y.’
Police were unable to identify the attacker. ‘Today there would be a much bigger arsenal,’ says Peter. ‘There would be cameras everywhere, and a lot more forensics, including DNA.’
Years later, a ‘familial search’ of the DNA database led to police calling on a woman who had once committed a drink-driving offence. She was the sister of James Lloyd, who immediately became the prime suspect.
DNA evidence alone wasn’t enough to convict him, but a search of his workplace unearthed 126 pairs of high-heeled shoes, indicating the father of two had probably attacked many more victims than had come forward.
In 2006, he was sentenced to at least 14 years’ imprisonment, later reduced to seven.
‘He couldn’t bear to get rid of these trophies,’ says Peter. ‘If his sister hadn’t been stopped for drink-driving, he would probably never have been caught.’
Horrifying hoard… Police discovered Lloyd’s collection of stilettos Twisted… Rapist Lloyd
was finally exposed