Trapped by his tro­phies

Se­rial sex at­tacker James Lloyd was jailed be­cause he kept me­men­tos of his crimes

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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.

Shoe fetish

‘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

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