A sex attacker who targeted lone young women while wearing a gorilla mask has been jailed for 21 years.
Elvis Sidaway, a 53-year-old paint mixer, raped one woman and sexually assaulted five others in a four-month reign of terror between November 2016 and January this year.
The predator targeted lone students as they walked home from nights out in Birmingham, a court heard.
He threatened them with a knife or other weapons while wearing a gorilla or 'Yoda' mask before committing the sick sex offences.
Two female students reported being attacked by a suspect wearing a gorilla mask last November - with one of the women managing to pull the face covering off.
Sidaway was arrested after his blue Peugeot 207 was spotted in Selly Oak in the early hours of February 4. He matched the description given by victims and a search of his car revealed condoms and a black firelighter.
At his address in Edgbaston, Birmingham, officers also found a craft knife, black gloves and another firelighter.
The court heard how because of his previous convictions, Sidaway was forensically aware and never left any clues.
His "attack kit" consisted of a black hoodie, condoms, a gas fire lighter, glasses to disguise himself and some Viagra-type pills.
During the trial, he denied attacking women to gain sexual pleasure but carried out the attacks "to gain company".
Sidaway admitted he visited a regular "lady of the night" and paid her for sex and was also an avid user of phone sex chat lines.
Sidaway, from Edgbaston, was arrested in February after a series of assaults in the Selly Oak, Quinton and Edgbaston areas of Birmingham.
A jury at Birmingham Crown Court today found Sidaway guilty of rape and three counts of possessing a knife. He will also stay on the Sex Offender Register for life.
He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to five counts of sexual assault by touching after an inquiry into offences committed between November last year and January 2017.
During the trial, the court heard how he would mainly prey on students from the University of Birmingham.
Simon Philips, prosecuting, said the first attack happened on November 20 last year when a student was sexually assaulted in Selly Oak.
A man wearing a gorilla mask pushed her up against a van and threatened her with a knife, but she managed to push him off and run away.
Four days later in the same area another student was attacked by a man in a gorilla mask - this time holding a gas fire lighter as a weapon.
Mr Philips said the student managed to pull the mask off, causing the attacker to panic and run away.
In the third attack on November 26 another female student was sexually assaulted in Selly Oak by a man wearing a mask.
The attacker forced the woman to kiss him and after the assault apologised to her.
The next attack happened on December 8 when a student was orally raped by a man wearing a black hoodie and brandishing a knife.
On January 13 this year a student was sexually assaulted by a man wearing a black hoodie and threatened with a gas fire lighter.
This attack was stopped from escalating when a member of the public intervened causing the man to run off.
The sixth and final attack happened on January 29 in Quinton, when a student walking alone was asked the time by a man, who then sexually assaulted her.
After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Laura Harrison, from West Midlands Police's Public Protection Unit, said: 'I am pleased with the sentencing today. Sidaway caused a whole community to question their safety.
'I hope this will reassure his victims and the wider student population that a dangerous man is no longer a threat to them.
'We worked in close partnership with the university and the local authority to ensure everyone was aware of the attacks and what we were doing to catch the offender, whilst making sure safety messages were being shared.
'We have since set up a stronger network of information sharing so that we can understand how best to communicate with the student population and work with them to keep them safe.'
A spokesman for The University of Birmingham said: 'The University of Birmingham would like to thank West Midlands Police for its work in this case. The University works very closely with West Midlands Police to keep our staff and students safe both on and off campus.
'Student and staff safety is of paramount importance to the University and we regularly review our wide range of safety measures and initiatives in consultation with the Police and other authorities.'
Judge Nicholas Webb imposed an extended sentence of 27 years on Sidaway - made up of 21 years in custody and a further six on licence.
Sentencing, he said: 'You carried out a campaign of sex attacks on young women in Selly Oak, Quinton and Edgbaston.
'I have no doubt it would have continued because when you were arrested at 4am in February you were dressed in what you told us was your "attack kit".
'You cruised the dark streets looking for young, solitary women making their way home. You ambushed your victims - either from behind, or jumping out in front of them.
'These attacks had a dreadful effect on the victims - some have had their studies disrupted, they have trouble sleeping, some have difficulty forming relationships with men.
'The effects will last for years and in one case, a career as a doctor is now in doubt.
'I have no doubt you will continue to be a very dangerous sex offender as you cannot accept what you have done.'
Jonathan Kelleher, Senior Crown Prosecutor at West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said afterwards: 'Elvis Sidaway is a dangerous sexual predator who targeted vulnerable lone females on their way home in the early hours of the morning.
'The defendant took steps to avoid detection and identification, however, after an extensive investigation and working alongside the police, we were able to build a strong case, compelling him to plead guilty to five sexual assaults and convicting him after trial of further serious offences.
'I would like to take this opportunity to thank the victims who supported the prosecution of this dangerous defendant and helped to bring him to justice.'
Convicted sex offender who wore a GORILLA MASK as part of his 'attack kit' for a series of horrific attacks on female students is jailed for 21 years ALICE EVANS FOR MAILONLINE 14 July 2017