Rapist freed after 52 years struck again at age of 81
A NOTORIOuS convicted murderer and rapist who spent 52 years in prison before being released on licence has been jailed again after sexually assaulting a woman at the age of 81.
One of Britain’s longest-serving prisoners, Ronald Evans was first jailed in 1964 for the murder of 21-year-old shop worker Kathleen Heathcote in Nottingham.
He was released in 1975 but went on to carry out a series of violent sex attacks in Bristol, becoming known as the ‘Clifton Rapist’.
Freed by the parole board in 2018 after a further 39 years in jail, Evans moved to London, where he began volunteering at a community centre attended by vulnerable women.
In a case that raises serious questions about the probation service, Evans was free to lure a 53-year-old survivor of domestic abuse to his flat, where he assaulted her.
The victim found out about his horrific history of sexual violence only after watching a TV documentary – days after reporting Evans to police and being told there was no record of him on their systems.
Yesterday, at the Old Bailey, Judge Vanessa Francis jailed Evans, now 82, for four years and said he should serve at least two. But she added that if he were to appear before the parole board again, they should exercise a ‘greater degree of caution’ before releasing him again.
Shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood said: ‘Serious questions need to be answered about how he was ever allowed out, and in particular how he was allowed to be around vulnerable women given the history of offences.
‘Shocking cases like this also raise serious questions about the ability of an overwhelmed probation service to adequately supervise offenders and prevent creating further victims.’
During his latest trial, prosecutor Pragati Patel told Harrow Crown Court how Evans had ‘presented himself as a harmless pensioner volunteering in his local community’ at the centre in Wembley.
But she added: ‘In reality, and despite his age, he was still very much a deviant sexual predator waiting for his next opportunity’.
Sentencing him, Judge Francis described Evans as ‘ intelligent and manipulative’.
She told him: ‘It is apparent to me that you manipulated [your victim’s] obvious vulnerabilities and cultivated her friendship so when the chance presented itself you could pursue sexual contact.’
The judge also ordered the victim to be paid compensation.
‘Intelligent and manipulative’