Austin Osayande, a 40-year-old British man, pleaded guilty to two rapes in a Leeds Crown Court on Thursday, according to foreign news outlets.

The grisly admission ended a yearslong mystery that’s haunted West Yorkshire residents since 2015, when police released grainy surveillance footage of the then-unidentified predator prowling the streets late at night. 

In the terrifying video, a silhouetted man — now revealed to be Osayande — is seen carrying a victim through a darkened alley in his arms, taking her to a secluded spot where police said he sexually assaulted her. 

Scary Video Catches Leeds Rapist

Osayande’s confession puts to rest an investigation that began in 2015, when a 24-year-old woman reported that she was raped in Leeds while waiting for a cab to take her home in the early morning hours of Aug. 14. 

The victim, whose name has not been released and who has not publicly identified herself, told West Yorkshire police that her attacker spoke with her briefly and walked with her near Mark Lane, before he suddenly scooped her up in his arms and carried her to a secondary location, where he raped her. 

Police released video of this man, later revealed to be Austin Osayande, taken the night he raped a 24-year-old woman in Leeds, England.
Police released video of this man, later revealed to be Austin Osayande, taken the night he raped a 24-year-old woman in Leeds, England. Photo credit: West Yorkshire Police

Investigators soon hit a wall — the victim did not know her attacker personally, and no eyewitnesses were forthcoming. In hopes of determining the predator’s identity, police released footage from a nearby security camera, which is reportedly not common practice for British authorities. 

The disturbing videos showed a tall, dark-skinned man with a shaved head wearing a long, dark coat and prowling the area near Mark Lane. In one clip, he’s seen exiting a cab. In two others, he walks casually through the camera’s line of sight. 

But in the fourth, the man is seen cutting through a dark alley carrying a visibly confused woman — his victim, according to police — out of frame and into the darkness. 

The 2015 Leeds rapist, later identified as Austin Osayande, was seen abducting his victim in this chilling security footage.
The 2015 Leeds rapist, later identified as Austin Osayande, was seen abducting his victim in this chilling security footage. Photo credit: West Yorkshire Police

“The footage of the victim being carried off by this man clearly makes for disturbing viewing,” said Pat Twiggs, a Detective Superintendent with the West Yorkshire police, at the time. 

“We gave very careful consideration to releasing it and secured the consent of the victim who has been left understandably traumatized by what this man did to her,” he added. 

Though the disturbing video was widely circulated across Britain, its shadowy subject remained unidentified for years. 

Austin Osayande Confesses Years Later

After more than six years still on the prowl, authorities in Leeds charged Osayande with a rape that occurred on Sept. 10 last year. 

Details on that case were not immediately available on Friday, but the circumstances of the 2021 attack were strikingly similar to the 2015 cold case. Within two weeks, Osayande was charged with both crimes. 

A Leeds Crown Court ordered the 40-year-old held without bail for a month until he appeared before a judge on Oct. 22. At the arraignment, Osayande denied responsibility for both attacks. 

Austin Osayande wasn't charged with the 2015 rape until late last year, when he was arrested in connection with another Leeds sexual assault.
Austin Osayande wasn’t charged with the 2015 rape until late last year, when he was arrested in connection with another Leeds sexual assault, police said. Photo credit: Shutterstock

But at a pretrial hearing on Thursday, Osayande pleaded guilty on all charges. His case was slated to go to trial on March 21, according to local reports.

Police and prosecutors did not explain the suspect’s sudden compliance. 

Plea bargains, in which offenders agree to admit guilt in exchange for a reduced sentence, are a common and openly discussed tactic among American prosecutors, but were not formally codified in British criminal law until somewhat recently

If Osayande struck a deal with prosecutors for less jail time, it will become clear when he returns to court for his sentencing hearing on Feb. 23

Until then, the Leeds Crown Court has ordered the 40-year-old rapist stay behind bars without bail.