Advertisement

Serial ‘sexual predator’ who has spent 51 years behind bars is jailed again

One of Britain’s longest serving prisoners, who spent more than 50 years in jail for murder and sex attacks, has been jailed for four more years for molesting a woman while out on licence.

In 1963, Ronald Evans, then aged 22, committed the sexually motivated murder of 21-year-old shop worker Kathleen Heathcote. He was released from prison in 1975 after 11 years.

Later in the 1970s, Evans committed a string of sex attacks on lone women at night in Bristol, becoming known as the “Clifton rapist”, with further offences coming to light years later following advances in scientific tests.

After a further 39 years in prison, he was released on licence by the Parole Board in 2018, first in a hostel and then a flat in Wembley, north London.

Having been living in the community for less than two years, he molested a vulnerable woman he had befriended at a community centre and was recalled to prison for a second time last August.

Earlier this week, Evans, now aged 82, was found guilty of sexually assaulting the woman and cleared of three sexual offences against a second woman.

On Thursday, Judge Vanessa Francis sentenced him to four years in prison but warned it would be for the Parole Board to decide when it was safe to release him.

She told Evans: “The sheer length of time you remained in custody speaks volumes as to the Parole Board’s view of the risk you posed.

Rape trial – Ronald Evans – Bristol
Ron Evans was sentenced in 2005 for sex attacks which took place in Bristol in the 1970s (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

“It is apparent from your actions towards (the victim) that time has done nothing to change the fact you are a sexual predator.”

“You sought out a new victim that was vulnerable who you knew you could manipulate.”

She described the defendant, who appeared by video link from Pentonville jail, as “intelligent and manipulative”.

Earlier in mitigation, Afzal Anwar had suggested that Evans had been helping people in the community in a “positive way”.

But the Judge told Evans: “You have now been recalled twice for further sexual offending.

“It will be a matter for the parole board when they review this case whether there is any view taken your behaviour was totally altruistic or looking for others with similar vulnerabilities.

“The risk you pose to women is significant. The combination of your history and continuing sexual interest underlies my concern you are a risk of serious sexual harm to women.”

Setting out the offence, the judge told how the victim had become involved with the community centre after suffering from domestic violence and the effects of the prolonged lockdown.

Having met Evans, she became concerned he wanted more than friendship after swapping numbers but he said he did not want a relationship.

The judge said: “Clearly this was a lie you told in order to stay close to (her) so you could exploit her and her obvious vulnerability.”

They met up at a local pub before they went to Evans’s flat where he boasted about getting emails with nude pictures from women wanting to have sex with him before grabbing the victim’s bottom.

When the victim phoned Evans the following day to confront him about his behaviour, he had said: “This kind of talk will get me in trouble,” and hung up.

Judge Francis told Evans: “It seems clear there was a genuine plan. You had decided you would take any chance to satisfy your sexual desire by making sexual contact with (the victim).

“It is apparent to me that you manipulated (her) obvious vulnerabilities and cultivated her friendship so when the chance presented itself you could pursue sexual contact.”

The judge also set out Evans’ previous history of violence against women and said it was an aggravating factor in the case.

Earlier, prosecutor Lauren Sales said that as a result of the sexual assault, the victim had stopped visiting the community centre and suffered “ongoing trauma”.

Judge Francis ordered that the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, receive compensation.

After the sentencing, Pragati Patel, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Ron Evans presented himself as a harmless pensioner volunteering in his local community.

“But, in reality, and despite his age, he was still very much a deviant, sexual predator waiting for his next opportunity.

“The prosecution case included strong witness testimony and we were also able to tell the jury about some of Evans’ previous predatory behaviour towards women through bad character evidence made admissible in court.

“Sexual offences are some of the most harrowing cases that we prosecute.

“The CPS is committed to working with the police to bring sexual offenders before the courts. I hope this conviction and sentence provides some sense of comfort and justice to all those affected by this case.”