JAILED FOR LIFE: Robert Lashley
A sexual predator who raped an 80-year-old woman in her home has been sentenced to life in prison.
Robert Lashley, 33, has been ordered to serve a minimum sentence of seven-and-a-half years before he is considered for release following the “horrific” attack in 2014.
The court heard that Lashley targeted his elderly victim as she left her Shepherd's Bush home in west London to go to a nearby newsagents at 7:30am on August 16, 2014.
CCTV showed Lashley, who also lives in west London, loitering outside the victim's block of flats where she lived alone. As she returned home, he followed her into the communal entrance and then forced his way into her flat. He then raped her.
The victim reported the assault to police and Lashley was arrested the following day after officers recognised his image on CCTV footage. He was charged later the same day.
His victim bravely gave evidence against him in court, leading to his successful conviction.
It was discovered that Lashley had received an eight-year sentence in 2004 for a similar rape on a 59-year-old woman.
Officers believe that Lashley may have targeted other women and are appealing for further possible victims to come forward.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Lucy Mawdsley said: "Robert Lashley is a sexual predator who on 16 August 2014 targeted one of the most vulnerable members of our community and subjected her to an horrific sexual assault. This was all the more distressing as the offence occurred in her home, where she should have felt safe. I hope that the sentence today reflects how seriously the police and courts view this type of vile offending.
"I also hope that this sentence will encourage more victims of sexual offending to approach police, in the knowledge you will be believed no matter what age you are, and that the police will seek prosecutions for sexual offences. "
She paid tribute to the victim, describing her as a “spirited lady who showed great courage and determination, not only during the offence, but also in attending court and giving evidence against Lashley”.
“She has found this experience extremely traumatic and I hope she can recover from this to enjoy her retirement in peace, " Detective Constable Mawdsley.
Police are taking the step of releasing Lashley's image today in a hope that if anyone thinks they have been a victim of Robert Lashley will come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police non-emergency line on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.