A SERIAL rapist could face a whole life sentence after a sickening sex attack on a 71-year-old woman in her home.

Anthony Murphy, 59, raped and molested the woman just four months after he had been released from prison.

He had served 28 years of a life sentence following a string of violent rapes in the 1980s and 1990s .

Now, he may become one of the few offenders to receive a whole life jail term when he is sentenced via a live video-link from prison on May 16.

He raped a 71-year-old on the morning of November 9 last year, days after he befriended her and her partner in Middlesbrough.

Prosecutor Joanne Kidd said the offences exactly mirrored his previous rapes.

He came to her home, tried to kiss her, and when she pulled away, he grabbed her around the throat and tried to strangle her.

He dragged the terrified woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, upstairs to a bedroom and raped her.

Murphy, formerly of Middlesbrough Road, South Bank, ran from officers across a field before his arrest.

He denied two counts of rape and two sexual assault charges, but was unanimously convicted on all four counts after a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

During the trial, he told the jury: "I've done some horrible s***, but I didn't do this."