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Burglar threatens rape on woman of 81 in her East Ham home

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 June 2012

»A burglar who threatened to rape an 81-year -old woman after breaking into her home is facing years behind bars.

Joseph Lawler, 41, smashed through an upstairs window at the house while the woman watched TV and demanded cash.

When she hit him with a dish, Lawler punched her in stomach, pushed her onto a sofa and said “I’ll rape you for that.”

He was forced to flee before continuing his attack when a neighbour heard the cries and knocked on the window.

After his arrest, police found a pornographic DVD Hot 60+, Inner London Crown Court heard.

Lee Ingham, prosecuting, told the court that Lawler targeted elderly women living alone because of his sexual interest.

On December 16 last year he broke into the home of a 94-year-old woman on the same road in East Ham.

Mr Ingham said: “She was asleep in her bedroom on the ground floor when Joseph Lawler entered her house at about 3am.

“He then went into her bedroom and she was woken by him grabbing her shoulders in bed.

“She struggled and he struggled back. During this struggle she tried to hit him with a commode but he tipped the contents, urine, over.”

Then on December 23 he targeted the 81-year-old at around 8.30pm.

“Something made her go to the window, and when she turned around, a man was very close behind her,” said Mr Ingham. “He said ‘I want money’. She screamed, managed to pick up a dish, and pretty feistily, hit him with it.

“He reacted by saying ‘I’ll rape you for that’. He pushed her towards the sofa and punched her in the stomach.

“He then pushed her onto the sofa and he went on top of her. Fortunately, attracted by the noise and specifically cries for help, a neighbour knocked on the window and shouted out. Lawler got up and ran out of the house.”

Lawler was caught by police sneaking back into his own East Ham home nearby and arrested.

Police found his boxer shorts at the rear of the woman’s house.

Lawler admitted two counts of burglary and two assaults but denied trespassing with intent to commit a sexual offence.He was cleared of the sexual intent charge in relation to the first victim but convicted over the 81-year-old.

Judge Roger Chapple warned him that he faced a substantial prison sentence for the attacks.

He adjourned sentencing until July 2 to assess Lawler’s danger to other people.

He added: “This is to see if there is some significant risk to the public, and if there is a risk of serious harm to the wider public. In any event you face a substantial sentence of imprisonment.”


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