Burglar who tried to rape and fatally injured widow, 94, jailed

Scott Sorby
Scott Sorby
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A DANGEROUS sex offender has been jailed for life for the murder of an elderly widow who died weeks after he brutally attacked and tried to rape her in her residential home.

Ordering Scott Sorby to serve a minimum of 24 years in prison, Mr Justice King told him yesterday at Bradford Crown Court he had committed a “truly dreadful” act against 94-year-old Elizabetta Pecka.

He subjected her to a “prolonged and ferocious physical attack” after she found him burgling her room in Rosewood Court residential home, in Barkerend, Bradford on January 21 last year.

Having punched her once in the bedroom he dragged her into the bathroom where he repeatedly struck her up 15 times inflicting serious facial injuries and then attempted to rape her.

She died in hospital two months later from pneumonia brought on by her ordeal. She was then 95.

Sorby was on licence at the time from a four and a half year sentence imposed in 2008 after he tried to rape a student in Leeds.

He wrote in letters later found in his prison cell that after punching the old lady he had flashbacks of that earlier attack when he was 17 and became angry.

He said he blamed the victim of that offence for his problems, even though he knew she was innocent, and when he decided to escalate his attack on Mrs Pecka he was thinking of the earlier victim.

In a rage, he decided to hurt her by raping her but could not do it.

In a letter intended for the Probation Service he wrote: “I almost raped an elderly woman, I beat her like a monster.

“I will never forgive myself for what I have done. I’ll never get over the image of standing over this poor woman, covered in blood – looking like a monster, looking like evil.”

Sorby, 21, admitted murder, attempted rape, two offences of burglary, theft and robbery. He also asked for six other offences to be taken into consideration including three robberies on women in 2005 and 2006.

Adrian Waterman QC, prosecuting, said after Sorby’s release on licence from the earlier sentence he was living in a probation hostel in Cleckheaton but failed to return there after the attack and committed the two burglaries and a robbery before he was spotted and arrested in Wakefield on January 26.

Staff discovered Mrs Pecka covered in blood in her bathroom after her attacker had left. She had fractures to both cheekbones, her jaw and the orbital wall around her eye and told paramedics “Let me die”.

Her condition deteriorated over the following weeks she spent in hospital and a friend who her visited her said the previously mobile and active pensioner was “a shadow of her former self”.

Paul Greaney QC, for Sorby, said reports showed he suffered from a severe mixed personality disorder. That night he intended only burglary when he broke in and the attack was spontaneous when he saw the pensioner behind him.

After the case Detective Superintendent Dick Nuttall said “Scott Sorby carried out a brutal and cowardly physical and sexual assault on a vulnerable and defenceless lady of 94 in the very place she felt most safe.

“Mrs Pecka had been an active lady in relatively good health, but after this attack she never left hospital. Her life was lost as a result of his depravity and I hope that today’s sentence will bring some sense of justice to those who cared for her.”