Manhunt: The Nightstalker, which will air on ITV tonight (September 20), is the true story of the police investigation into a notorious serial burglar and rapist.
Based on Colin Sutton’s diaries, the four-part series was based on his 2009 investigation into Delroy Grant, the Nightstalker.
The Nightstalker Delroy Grant was a serial criminal who committed numerous burglaries, rapes, and indecent attacks against vulnerable elderly and children in South East London between 1992 and 2009.
Grant went unrecognized for 17 years until he was finally caught in the midst of a massive surveillance program. Grant was finally arrested on November 14, 2009.
How did The Nightstalker remain undiscovered for so many years?
Delroy Grant’s 17 year reign of terror began in 1992.
Operation Minstead, an elite task force created to capture the Nightstalker in 1998.
A member of the public saw a suspicious man near Bromley’s scene of a burglary. A member of the public spotted the suspect leaving the scene. He also noted the vehicle registration that the man had left behind.
The police checked the registration plate against DVLA records and discovered that the vehicle belonged to a man called Delroy Grant.
Operation Minstead was informed about the incident. This is because the burglary looked similar to other Nightstalker-related burglaries.
It is believed that Delroy Grant’s DNA was mixed with the DNA of another person who had a similar name at the time.
Grant was named as a suspect after DNA from Grant’s victim was cross-examined.
Two years later, an appeal for information about the Nightstalker was broadcast on the BBC programme Crimewatch.
A 2001 viewer of the programme called with information concerning a suspicious individual from South London named Delroy Grant.
Operation Minstead detectives cross-checked the name to find that Delroy Grant had been exonerated from their investigations.
During this time, police also faced criticism for the high profile appeals that were broadcast, depicting the Nightstalker as a man who rode a motorcycle.
Grant was later found to have been in a car while he was committing his crimes.
It is believed that Grant’s number of crimes increased by 160% in the following 16 months. Investigators did not have any leads on Nightstalker.
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In 2009, Colin Sutton, a DCI, was asked to lead an investigation into Nightstalker. This followed his successful investigation which led to the arrest and conviction of Levi Bellfield.
He suggested a large-scale surveillance program in the South East London area where the majority of Nightstalker’s crimes were committed.
The surveillance operation saw a CCTV camera at a local business capture the outline and shadow of a Vauxhall Zafira. A second CCTV camera captured the shadows of a man who was sitting in the car close to the location of a recent home invasion.
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On November 14, an undercover officer noticed a Vauxhall Zafira parked on a street, and at 12.30am, saw a man leave in the car.
On November 14, 2009, Grant was driving the silver Vauxhall Zafira. Police found items that were related to Nightstalker’s crimes, including a crowbar which he used for opening the windows of the homes where he had committed his crimes.
Grant was arrested at a station where DNA evidence proved that he was the Nightstalker.
Grant was sentenced on March 25, 2011 to at least 27 years and four life terms.
Manhunt: The Nightstalker airs Monday at 9pm on ITV