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Four life sentences for rapist obsessed with BBC presenters

A SERIAL "sex predator" obsessed with the BBC newsreaders Fiona Bruce and Emily Maitlis was given four life sentences yesterday for the gunpoint rape of an Ann Summers shop assistant.

David Decoteau pretended to be a customer at the sex shop before grabbing his victim, pulling out a pistol and threatening to "blow her brains out" if she did not do as she was told.

The terrified woman was dragged into an office, bound, gagged, partially stripped and "mercilessly" assaulted.

Once Decoteau had finished, he brazenly sauntered past customers with 1,500 stolen from the safe and disappeared.

Although he was jailed for 12 years for raping a 15-year-old girl a few months later, it took nearly a decade, significant advances in DNA profiling and a "cold case" review before Decoteau, 45, was identified as the armed attacker in the Ann Summers store, Southwark Crown Court in London was told.

Police also discovered that he had an "unhealthy fixation" for the Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis - he called her his "special lady" and wrote to her from prison - and was "fascinated" by BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce and her ITV colleague Nina Hossain.

Decoteau, from Camberwell, London, was convicted of raping the shop assistant in 1996, indecently assaulting and falsely imprisoning her, possessing a handgun to carry out the attack and robbery.

As the woman watched from the public gallery, the judge, Stephen Robbins, said

Decoteau's "continuing behaviour" since his release from prison two years ago "leaves this court in no doubt you clearly represent a danger to society, namely a sexual danger to females".

The judge said psychological and psychiatric reports made clear he posed a "high risk of sexual reoffending".

After explaining there would be a total of four concurrent life sentences imposed - one each for the rape, the robbery, the handgun possession and the false imprisonment - as well as an eight-year term for indecent assault, the judge said he would have to serve a minimum of ten years before being considered for parole.

At that point, Decoteau lost his temper, looked up at the judge and swore at him.

Outside court, Det Sergeant Jackie Murphy spoke of her "absolute delight" with the sentence.

The case officer, who received a "peculiar" letter full of sexual innuendo from Decoteau after his conviction, said: "This means women are a whole lot safer. He is clearly a sexual deviant with a history of sexual offending."

During his trial - much of which he spent reading a Bible - jurors heard that,

while in prison for raping the schoolgirl, he developed an "unhealthy fixation" for the three presenters.

His attitude towards women was so worrying that after his release he was banned from contacting Ms Maitlis or going anywhere near BBC News Centre.

When his home was searched during the Ann Summers rape investigation, police found a picture of Ms Maitlis by his bed, six rolls of PVC tape and a series of "scribblings" about rape, violence and sexual positions.

Decoteau had also jotted down notes about the sex-shop chain, its profits and its chief executive, Jacqueline Gold.

CELEBRITIES AT RISK

STALKING is now one of the fastest growing crimes in Britain.

Most victims are professional women aged between 20 and 40.

A number of high-profile celebrities have also been targeted.

Well-known victims include Jill Dando (pictured), 37, who was murdered outside her home in west London in 1999 by Barry George, an obsessed fan.

In 2005 Barry Tullet, 57, was jailed for six months for sending Sue Barker, the Question of Sport presenter, a letter saying she would be "the next Jill Dando".

Madonna has also been plagued by stalkers. The most terrifying was Robert Dewey Hoskins, who was jailed for ten years for threatening to slit her throat if she did not marry him.

In 2005 Catherine Zeta-Jones branded Dawnette Knight "evil" after she threatened to cut her into pieces, claiming to be in love with the actress's husband, Michael Douglas.

Other celebrities who have suffered include David Beckham, Meg Ryan, Michael J Fox, Olivia Newton John, Pamela Anderson and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Stalkers have also plagued sports stars, especially tennis players.

Monica Seles was stabbed in 1993 by a man obsessed with her rival, Steffi Graf.

Newscasters who have been stalked include Selina Scott, who was trailed for seven years by a fan.

Stalkers also targeted Zeinab Badawi, Anna Ford and Andrea Catherwood.

 
 
 

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