Life sentence for “tights fetish” burglar who tried to rape vulnerable pensioner

Jailed: Nigel Carroll
Jailed: Nigel Carroll

A house burglar with a fetish for women’s tights has been jailed for life after he tried to rape a 70-year-old pensioner in her West Yorkshire home.

Leeds man Nigel Carroll, 53, travelled across the region breaking into homes, but in November last year he subjected a widow to an horrific sex attack in her Brighouse home.

Carroll broke into the grandmother’s property at tea-time as she watched television and after he stole some items there was a confrontation between them.

The pensioner told him to go away, but he then climbed back in through a smashed window and attacked her in a bedroom.

After removing the woman’s jeans, tights and knickers Carroll put his hand under her bra and attempted to rape her.

Bradford Crown Court heard today (Tuesday) that Carroll, who has a criminal record going back more than 30 years, did not in fact go through with the rape, but he masturbated into his victim’s tights before fleeing the scene.

Carroll, of Wykebeck Avenue, Osmondthorpe, was found guilty of the attempted rape and sexual assault following a trial last month.

The victim told investigating officers about her ordeal in a video interview within hours of the attack and her evidence was played to the jury during Carroll’s trial even though she subsequently died following an unrelated fall in her home a few weeks after the shocking crime.

Carroll’s previous convictions included offences related to his sexual interest in ladies tights and the police inquiry linked him to other break-ins at homes in Birkenshaw and Leeds where tights had been stolen.

The jury found him guilty of those two offences and Carroll also admitted three further burglaries and two offences of handling stolen goods.

The court head today that other burglary victims included a 91-year-old woman whose Sowerby Bridge home was broken into twice.

He also attacked St Patrick’s Presbytery in Sowerby Bridge forcing the priest to install bars on the windows.

The son of the sex attack victim was in court to see Carroll jailed for life and in a moving personal statement on behalf of his family he described how his mother had changed after the attack from a strong-willed woman full of passion and fight into a “mere shell of her former self”.

The court heard that back in 2000 Carroll was jailed for 15 years for a series of offences, including outraging public decency and indecent assault, but that sentence was later reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal.

The Recorder of Bradord Judge Roger Thomas QC said he viewed Carroll as a very dangerous man.

He described him as a dyed in the wool professional house burglary, but he also highlighted his disturbing sexual attitudes.

“Your sexual proclivities involved a very unhealthy interest in female underwear and tights in particular,” noted Judge Thomas.

“That’s a distinct feature of your previous convictions and indeed these offences.

“You are somebody who causes me, in coming to sentence you now, the greatest concern in terms of your future behaviour and the sort of risk you pose to the public at large and in particular to the elderly female population.”

The judge said the sex attack in Brighouse was the pinnacle of the two characteristics of Carroll’s behaviour and added: “She was subjected to that vile experience in her own home where she had lived for many years in safety hitherto.”

Judge Thomas said an indeterminate prison sentence was appropriate in view of the risk posed by Carroll and he set the minimum jail term at nine years.

Although Carroll could be released after that period he will only be allowed out if the Parole Board decide it is safe to do so.

Carroll, who will now have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, was given concurrent prison sentences for the other offences of burglary and handling stolen goods.

The defendant was arrested by police in December last year and today Judge Thomas commended the investigation team which had brought him to justice.

As well as linking Carroll to the crimes through some of the stolen property found at his home the officers also used DNA findings on the victim’s clothing and mobile phone cell-site analysis as evidence in the case against him.