A RAPIST branded a sexual predator is facing a possible life sentence for attacks on two vulnerable strangers less than a year apart.
Anthony Curran had already served a jail term for rape when he targeted a woman in her 30s after sneaking into a house in Cullercoats, North Tyneside through an unlocked door as she slept.
Eight months later he struck again in nearby Whitley Bay, this time raping a woman he offered to walk home after they met outside a seafront nightclub in the early hours of the morning.
He was arrested shortly after the second attack and was later linked to the first rape by DNA evidence.
Curran, 28, of Ridley Avenue, Wallsend, had denied two counts of rape – the first on December 9 2007 and the second on August 3 last year.
He claimed he had never been inside the house in Cullercoats and did not know either the woman or her partner.
But he could not explain how two hairs bearing his DNA profile were found in bedding at the scene of the crime – unless he had unwittingly come into contact with the couple while socialising.
Curran claimed the victim of the second attack – also in her 30s – had consented to sex after they began chatting outside the Deep nightclub shortly after 3am. But jurors at Newcastle Crown Court found him guilty on both rape counts yesterday after deliberating for less than an hour.
They had been told at the start of the trial Curran had a conviction for rape in 2002 – evidence the prosecution suggested supported their claim he had a “propensity” to force women to have sex with him. Judge John Milford further remanded Curran – originally from Middlesbrough – in custody after adjourning sentence until today, warning him he may receive a life sentence.
During the trial, jurors heard from both victims via a video link.
The first woman described how she had gone upstairs to bed leaving her partner sleeping downstairs on the sofa.
She said she became aware in the early hours of the morning that someone was in bed behind her and assuming it was her partner, drifted back into sleep.
But she told how she became alarmed when she later felt cold clothing pressing into her body.
The woman said the intruder had gone on to rape her after pushing her onto her front, forcing her face into the pillow so she could hardly breathe.
She said the man put his hand over her mouth but recoiled when she bit it, giving her a chance to scream to her boyfriend.
The second victim told how she feared for her life when Curran suddenly grabbed hold of her on nettle-strewn wasteland off Hillheads Road, Whitley Bay.
She said: “I thought I was going to die. I was so shocked because he had seemed a nice sort of person. I thought he was going to kill me.”