A SEX attacker who targeted a woman in her Ipswich home had struck on at least two previous occasions, The Star can reveal.

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Hilland Matthews, of Swallow Road, Ipswich, is currently awaiting sentence after subjecting his victim to a horrendous assault.

Matthews admitted sexual assault, sexual assault by penetration, and one of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence, when he appeared before Ipswich Crown Court last Friday.

However, it can now be revealed the 66-year-old has been convicted of sexual offences in Wales dating back at least 20 years.

One was in 1992 after he sexually assaulted an elderly woman. The incident is believed to have taken place in her home.

Another was in the late 1980s for an attack on a female teenager.

Matthews was arrested in November last year, 17 months after he assaulted a woman on the Chantry estate.

He was eventually trapped after police matched his DNA to a familial link on the national database. Police had his DNA after his victim had the presence of mind to scratch his face and arms during the attack so detectives would have a sample from her attacker.

Despite Matthews’ previous convictions elsewhere, it is understood police had been unaware he had subsequently made his home in Ipswich.

He had not been on the Sex Offenders’ Register, as his earlier convictions pre-dated the register, which does not include anyone who was convicted before 1997.

Matthews, who smelled of alcohol and tobacco, entered his victim’s house through an unlocked back door at about 9.30pm on June 5, 2011, before assaulting the woman.

During the attack she tried to fight Matthews off, scratching at his face and arms.

The breakthrough came when officers analysing her attacker’s DNA, were able to establish he had familial connections in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Detectives discovered a link with a family member of Matthews, who is understood to have moved to Ipswich not long before the attack took place.

Matthews is due to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on February 14.

He is currently remanded in custody.

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