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Croydon woman woke to find intruder lying beside her on sofa with his trousers down

Frank Rawlings (Met Police)
Frank Rawlings (Met Police)

A man who broke into a woman's house in Croydon with the intention of sexually assaulting her has received an indefinite hospital order.

Frank Rawlings' victim had fallen asleep on the sofa in her living room, when she woke in the early hours of September 8 last year to find a man's arm across her waist.

She turned to see Rawlings - whom she had never met before - lying next to her with his trousers around his ankles.

The woman shouted at him to get out, and Rawlings left the property.

Police were called, and officers found Rawlings during a search of the surrounding area.

They searched a rucksack the 38-year-old was carrying, and found a sex toy.

Specially trained officers spoke to his victim, who confirmed she had not been sexually assaulted.

Scotland Yard said the woman was "understandably horrified at how Rawlings had managed to get into her property".

Rawlings was arrested and taken into custody, where he declined to answer any questions put to him by detectives.

But forensic analysis of chewing gum found on his victim's sofa provided a match to Rawlings, proving he had been inside the property.

Rawlings, of Chorley Wood Crescent in Orpington, was sentenced on Friday (December 8) at Woolwich Crown Court to a hospital order of indeterminate length.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Detective Constable Sarah Mead led the investigation and said: “This was an extremely distressing incident where a woman woke to find a total stranger in her house. Frank Rawlings has refused to tell us what his intentions were, but the fact that he was partly undressed, lying next to the woman on her sofa gives a clear indication – thankfully, the woman woke up and scared him away.

“The victim has been extremely brave in supporting this investigation and I hope now that legal proceedings have concluded, she can begin to move on from this distressing incident.

“Criminality targeting women and girls is a key priority for the Met and we continue to strive to ensure we improve investigations and better support those who put their trust in us. I hope this conviction helps improve that trust.”