RAPIST Anthony Carrington would have gone on to attack more women had the instincts of police officers not led to him being caught, senior officers have said.
The Star reported last week how the sexual predator, who is believed to have previously lived in Parr and Merton Bank, has been jailed for seven years after he was caught red handed by police, raping a stranger in his car at a secluded spot.
The 28-year-old drunken victim had got into his Nissan Micra thinking it was a taxi and he took advantage of her vulnerability.
Police chiefs believe the officers' intervention has prevented more women from being attacked.
Detective Chief Inspector Howard Millington said: "Carrington is, without a doubt, a predatory sex offender and one that, had we not caught him at this point, would have undoubtedly gone on to target more women.
"The two officers who intervened deserve enormous credit for recognising that the situation they came across did not seem quite right and they went to investigate.
"Carrington did chiefly prey on lone women so it is timely for me to issue a reminder to young women in particular.
"Please, when on a night out, always be aware of your surroundings and do not walk home alone wherever possible. Also, stick to well-lit areas and drink responsibly to ensure you do not become vulnerable."
Officers on patrol for stolen cars came to the woman's rescue in February after spotting the vehicle and, realising sexual activity was taking place, stopped to investigate.
Carrington – who was on long term sick leave from his job with the NHS Health Improvement Team in Parr - was standing next to the car with his trousers and underwear round his ankles.
On seeing the police officers he attempted to put his arms round the victim - who was in the car - but she pushed him away and ran to the officers saying “help me please”.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that his attack in Leigh took place the day after he had also been cruising around targeting victims to molest.
Michael Scholes, prosecuting, said that on February 24 this year "Carrington was cruising around looking for targets for inappropriate sexual behaviour”.
Shortly before 11pm he spotted an 18-year-old girl in the Latchford area of Warrington on her way home and he approached her and put his arm around her waist and asked for "a birthday kiss."
He held her face before putting his hand up her dress and indecently assaulting her.
She swore at him, pushed him away and kicked him before running away to get help from local residents.
About ten minutes later Carrington was cruising around the Walton area of Warrington and saw two 16-year-old girls.
He approached one from behind and put his hands around her neck and again
demanded a "birthday kiss”.
She was able to resist him and he then approached her friend and put his hand up her skirt. He squeezed her bottom before the girls ran away, said Mr Scholes.
Carrington struck the next night in Leigh and committed the rape.
Mr Scholes said that the rape victim had been too drunk to recall what happened to her and had been left very distressed.
Carrington, who was arrested in April, claimed that she had invited him to have sex with him and denied the assaults on the three other victims.
Owen Edwards, defending, said Carrington had led an unblemished life and still maintains he had not committed the rape.
He asked the judge "to conclude that some sort of mental disturbance occurred before the commission of these offences”.
He added: "He has thrown away his good character spectacularly and will be watched carefully by the authorities for the rest of his life."
His marriage and following relationship had both failed but his ex-wife is supporting him, added Mr Edwards.
Carrington, 54 of no fixed address at the time of the attacks, was convicted of rape and three sex assaults.
Jailing him for seven years with an extended licence of five years.
Judge Robert Warnock said that he posed a significant risk of serious harm to others.
The judge said: "You were driving around looking for sex. The victim has obviously drunk and mistook your car for a taxi and you took advantage of those factors and her.
“You took her to a quiet spot and raped her. You are deluding yourself if you think the victim consented.
"The offences the previous night involved premeditated attacks on night in the street involving sexual touching."
Carrington was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.