A STALKER who raped a woman he was obsessed with before battering her landlord with a hammer has failed in a desperate bid for a retrial.

Anthony Graham admitted the sex attack and grievous bodily harm with intent part-way through his February trial.

Today (August 11) the 47-year-old returned to Teesside Crown Court in an attempt to vacate the guilty plea he had entered to the rape.

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His legal team produced a signed document from February in which he maintained he was innocent but wanted to plead guilty and face the consequences.

Graham acknowledged he was warned it was an "extremely foolish thing to do" and that he faced a life or lengthy sentence.

After hearing arguments from Robert Woodcock. QC, for the defence, and prosecutor Caroline Goodwin, Judge Peter Bowers threw out the application.

Graham, of Doxford Walk, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, will now be sentenced after a medical report .

He originally went on trial facing two counts of rape, false imprisonment, attempted murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.

After two juries were sworn and the rape victim's video-recorded interview with police played, Graham pleaded guilty to two charges.

The victim told of her terror as she was snatched from her home, tied up and sexually attacked by "wild-eyed" Graham late at night in October last year.

He dragged the "petrified" woman in her pyjamas, dressing gown and bare feet to his mother's Redcar bungalow and threatened to murder her - telling her he had already prepared a grave on the moors.

He also lay in wait for the woman's landlord - who he believed was her lover - and left him with brain damage after a vicious hammer attack days later.

The jury heard Graham had a "fixation" or "obsession" with his victim, spying on her for hours.

Mr Woodcock argued that Graham's guilty plea to rape was "ambiguous" "unsafe and unlawful" and Graham should be allowed to stand trial on the charge.

Judge Bowers said: "I do not believe there is any ambiguity, simply a change of mind. It would cause grave injustice to the victim, who had set herself up and was prepared to give evidence. If there is any injustice, it would be in allowing him to change his plea."