Notorious serial Sunderland sex attacker dubbed 'The Fox' dies in prison

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He was dubbed ‘The Fox’ as he built dens in people’s homes as he lay in wait for his victims.

A notorious serial sex attacker from Sunderland who was dubbed the Fox has died in prison.

Malcolm Fairley was born in Silksworth in 1952 and went on to spark one of the biggest manhunts in British criminal history after committing 81 offences, including rapes, indecent assaults and burglaries.

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He moved to the south of England in 1983 before going on to wage terror on rural communities the following year across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Malcolm Fairley also known as 'The Fox'.Malcolm Fairley also known as 'The Fox'.
Malcolm Fairley also known as 'The Fox'. | Submitted.

Masked and armed with a shotgun, he was given the name ‘The Fox’ as he would break into people’s homes when they were out before building dens in their houses, where he would eat food from the fridge and watch TV before the occupants returned.

He would then commit violent attacks including rape and indecent assaults and at the height of his reign of terror in the summer of 1984 there were three attacks in one week.

The attacks sparked a mass manhunt with over 200 police officers involved in trying to track Fairley down.

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As he tried to escape being caught, he made his way north where he committed further break-ins and sexual crimes in South Yorkshire and his native North East.

He was eventually arrested in September 1984 at his home in Kentish Town, north London, after forensic evidence linked his car to an attack.

The arrest of Malcolm Fairley in London, September 1984 (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)The arrest of Malcolm Fairley in London, September 1984 (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)
The arrest of Malcolm Fairley in London, September 1984 (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)

In 1985, at St Albans Crown Court, he was sentenced to six life terms in prison.

On Wednesday May 29, the Prison Service said the 72-year-old died on Tuesday at HMP Hull.

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Speaking at the time of Fairley’s sentencing, Mr Justice Caulfield said: "There are degrees of wickedness beyond condemnatory description. Your crimes fall within this category. You desecrated and defiled men and women in their own homes."

Last month (April) the hunt for Fairley was captured in an ITN Productions documentary entitled ‘The Intruder: He's Watching You From Within’, which was commissioned for Channel 5.

The documentary featured retired detective chief superintendent Brian Prickett, who led the investigation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Prickett in the documentary and, inset, Malcolm Fairley aka The FoxDetective Chief Superintendent Brian Prickett in the documentary and, inset, Malcolm Fairley aka The Fox
Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Prickett in the documentary and, inset, Malcolm Fairley aka The Fox

Speaking to ITN about finally coming face-to-face with ‘The Fox’, Mr Prickett said: “Malcolm Fairley should never come out of prison after all the fear and harm he put into the community.

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"When I first saw him he said to me, 'I'd seen you on the television a few times, and I never thought I'd see you in real life'. I said to him, 'I knew I'd see you'.

"We said, 'Why did you do it? Tell us why. Do you realise what you did to these people? Are you sorry?' 

“He shrugged his shoulders. He never showed any remorse, or he never once asked, 'How are these people?' Not once.

“As a police officer, you deal with him professionally, but as a human being, you've got complete disgust, you've got almost hatred.

"I don't think I'll ever understand the motivation he had for the attacks he carried out.”

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