July 2013

Crimes that shook Teesside: ‘Man in the Mask’ Timothy Din

Timothy Din

Man in the Mask’ Timothy Din caused two years of fear on Teesside – preying on lone women and girls as they slept in their homes.

Females of all ages in Thornaby were warned by police to be on their guard while the evil monster was on the loose.

Din is one of Teesside’s most notorious rapists, described as “a continuing public danger”.

He was dubbed the “man in the mask”, as he wore a black balaclava to carry out his crimes.

Din raped and sexually attacked women between 1999 and 2000.

In 2002, he was jailed for 20 years and Teesside breathed a sigh of relief as one of our most feared monsters was jailed.

The married dad-of-five, first struck in November 1999 when he raped a 22-year-old.

In February 2000, he pounced on an 18-year-old as she walked home at around 1am, dragging her to a field where she was indecently assaulted and punched in the face.

The following month Din struck again. He targeted two more women as they slept.

The victims had woken to find the masked intruder in their homes.

One – a 33-year-old woman – woke to see him peering around the bedroom door.

An hour later he attacked a 15-year-old girl who was asleep on a settee. She fought him off despite a violent sexual assault.

In March 2000 he struck again attacking a 22-year-old mum.

Din was almost caught in December 2000 when he was seen hiding in a garden by a couple returning home in the early hours.

He was confronted by the boyfriend of his intended victim, who ripped the balaclava from his head.

This was the start of the end for Din as a vital sliver of his skin was lost in the battle – providing the first piece of the rapist’s DNA.

A beat bobby helped fit the missing pieces and put Din in the frame.

PC Steve Alstead remembered an arrest two years earlier.

The description of the man closely matched that of a petrol thief he had nicked in the same area.When the police finally acquired some hard evidence – skin and saliva from the scene of the final incident – Din, a diesel fitter, and others were invited to submit to DNA testing. Din’s was a match.

Police soon worked out his tactics – he used his other criminal activity – the regular theft of diesel fuel from parked vehicles – as a cover. While out stealing fuel, he was able to watch lone women.

He was arrested and charged with one offence of rape, three of attempted rape, and one of burglary with intent to rape.

And in April 2002 women could sleep easier after Din was found guilty after a trial at Teesside Crown Court. He was a branded a “continued danger to the public” and was put on the sex offenders register for life.

Sinister side of family man

TO everyone else Timothy Din was a quiet, unassuming family man.

But the married dad of five had an evil sinister side.

Din, who was 44 at the time he was convicted, lived in a modest house in his adopted home town of Hartlepool.

He was a diesel fitter for a big local taxi firm – this gave him the opportunities to lead his double life.

Before the rape and sex attacks in Thornaby, Din had a seedy criminal past.

His long record goes back to the juvenile court. It was mainly made up of petty thieving but also contained one offence of indecent assault on a woman when he was just 15 and another in 1991 of stealing a woman’s underwear from a washing line.

Din always maintained that he wasn’t the feared ‘Man in the Mask’

Even when he was caught and there was no way out – as police had his DNA from when his infamous balaclava was ripped from his head by the boyfriend of one of his intended victims – shameless Din still denied the crimes.

This meant some of his distraught victims had to go to court and relive the horror they suffered at the hands of Din.

Trembling, one victim told Teesside Crown Court that she woke up in the early hours to find a stranger in her bedroom.

The masked monster then raped her in front of her crying daughter.

She told the court that sick Din told her he was taking her night clothes as a “souvenir”.

When it was Din’s turn to give evidence he denied all knowledge of the offences. He said that on the night he was confronted in Thornaby he had been spotted about to steal fuel from a lorry, had run away and was hiding in the garden.

On April 25, 2002, the jury of eight women and four men took more than eight hours to find Din guilty.

Din broke down sobbing in the dock as his sentence of 20 years was handed down.

The outcome brought an outpouring of emotion from Din’s victims, who had nervously awaited the verdicts, fearful that their attacker might walk free from court.

He has never admitted the crimes and in 2003 the monster appealed the conviction and the sentence – taking it to the High Court in a bid to be freed. But the three appeal judges rejected the appeal and said “there’s nothing wrong” with the sentence.