A SERIAL rapist who was seen as a pillar of his community has been unmasked 20 years on through pioneering DNA technology, police said yesterday.

James Lloyd, 49, who was married with two children, was the manager of a printing firm and a respected resident in his village in South Yorkshire.

 But behind his comfortable lifestyle lay a dark past. Hidden at his workplace were more than 100 pairs of stiletto shoes, some of them belonging to the victims of a series of sex attacks between 1983 and 1986.

Lloyd, it has emerged, was responsible for a series of rapes that terrified single women in Rotherham and Barnsley.

The masked attacker, who became known as the shoe rapist, lay in wait for women walking home from pubs and clubs.

He would drag them off the street, tie them up with stockings or tights, and rape them. Lloyd made a habit of stealing his victims? shoes, which he kept as fetishistic trophies.

His crimes went unsolved for more than 20 years until advances in DNA searching techniques led South Yorkshire Police to reopen the inquiry.

At Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, Lloyd pleaded guilty to four rapes and two attempted rapes on women aged between 18 and 53.

He denied a further charge of attempted rape and one count of robbery involving a pair of black-and-gold stilettos. Those charges were ordered to lie on file.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced, after psychiatric reports, in September. As Lloyd was led from the courtroom, one of his victims shouted out: ?Rot in hell!? No details of his offences were given in court, but police hailed the case as their greatest success in using familial DNA in a cold-case investigation.

Lloyd was traced when DNA from his sister ? taken in relation to a drink-driving offence ? was matched to semen samples taken from the rapist?s victims between 1983 and 1986.

When he discovered that he was being asked for a DNA sample, Lloyd telephoned his father, told him that he had been responsible for a number of serious crimes and said that he was going to commit suicide. He tried to hang himself but was saved by his son.

Lloyd, 5ft 6in, was a freemason who lived with his family in a ?300,000, four-bedroomed detached house in Thurnscoe, near Rotherham.

Detective Inspector Angie Wright said that soon after the investigation began it emerged that he had an obsession with shoes. When police searched the printing firm he managed in Wath-upon-Dearne, they found, hidden behind a trapdoor, black bags stuffed with hundreds of pairs of shoes. Some were brand new, but others had been worn. It has since been established that some of the shoes belonged to the women he attacked.

Officers also found jewellery that had been taken from Lloyd?s rape victims, and hundreds of pairs of stockings and tights. They believe that there may have been more victims. 
 
When the series of rapes ended abruptly in 1986, detectives believed that the attacker must have been a known sex offender who had either died or been jailed for other offences.

In fact, Lloyd had married around that time and soon had a son and a daughter. 
 
Ms Wright said: ?This man was to all intents and purposes a perfectly respectable member of society, a businessman with a family and a pillar of society.

?None of his family or anyone around him suspected for one moment that he could be the notorious shoe rapist.

?We simply don?t know if there are any more victims out there, but it is a strong possibility there could be many more. The victims who were in court are delighted with the convictions and hopefully it can bring them some sort of closure.?

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