Nightstalker Delroy Grant went undetected by police for 17 years before capture

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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.

The four-part series is based on the diaries of DCI Colin Sutton, who led the investigation into the Nightstalker, Delroy Grant, from 2009.

Delroy Grant, who became known as The Nightstalker, committed a series of burglaries, rapes and indecent assaults against elderly and vulnerable people in South East London from 1992-2009.

For 17 years, Grant went undetected until he was arrested on November 14 2009, following a large surveillance programme.

But how did The Nightstalker go undetected for so long?

Delroy Grant's 17 year reign of terror began in 1992.

In 1998, a dedicated task force called Operation Minstead was set up to catch the criminal now known as The Nightstalker.

In May 1999, a member of the public noticed a man acting suspiciously near the scene of a burglary in Bromley. As the man left the scene, the member of the public noted down the registration of the vehicle that the man left in.

The police checked the registration plate against DVLA records and discovered that the vehicle belonged to a man called Delroy Grant.

The incident was referred to the Operation Minstead team, as the burglary bore resemblance to other burglaries carried out by the Nightstalker.

However, it is reported that at the time, the DNA of another person with a similar name was confused with Delroy Grant's DNA.

When the DNA was cross-examined with DNA left at the crime scene, it didn't match, and Grant was dismissed as a suspect.

Two years later, an appeal for information about the Nightstalker was broadcast on the BBC programme Crimewatch.

A viewer watching the programme in 2001, rang in with information regarding a suspicious individual living in South London, called Delroy Grant.

However, an Operation Minstead detective cross-referenced the name and saw that Delroy Grant had already been excluded 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.

It was later discovered that Grant had used a car when he committed his crimes.

In 2008, it is reported that his number of crimes doubled over the next 16 months, and investigators had no leads on the Nightstalker.

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However in 2009, DCI Colin Sutton was asked to lead the investigation into the Nightstalker, following his successful investigation that led to the arrest of serial killer Levi Bellfield.

He proposed a large scale surveillance programme in the area of South East London where most of the Nightstalker's crimes had been found to have taken place.

During the surveillance operation, a local business' CCTV camera caught the outline of a Vauxhall Zafira, while another CCTV camera also caught the shadow of a man sat in the car near to where a burglary had recently taken place.

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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.

Police pulled over the silver Vauxhall Zafira being driven by Grant on November 14 2009, and discovered items relating to the Nightstalker's crimes including a crowbar, which he used to open the windows of the houses where he committed his crimes.

He was taken to a police station, where DNA evidence confirmed that he was the Nightstalker.

On March 25 2011, Grant was sentenced to at least 27 years of four life terms.

Manhunt: The Nightstalker begins Monday at 9pm on ITV

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