A TERRIFIED woman woke to find a convicted rapist standing over her bed, axe in hand and dripping with blood.

Benny Murray smashed his way into the 53-year-old woman’s Breightmet home though a window in the early hours of September 23 last year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the noise alerted neighbours as Murray made his way up to his victim’s bedroom leaving a trail of blood.

Richard Haworth, prosecuting, said the woman, who lives alone, had gone to bed at 12.30pm but was woken at 2.34am by Murray, who was a neighbour.

“He was stood next to her bed and in his hand was an axe,” said Mr Haworth.

“His hands were covered in blood and he was saying he was there to help her.”

The woman screamed. “She told him to get out of her house — she was terrified,” said Mr Haworth.

The woman jumped out of bed and pushed Murray down the stairs and into the living room, neighbours and police arrived and Murray was arrested.

The court heard that Murray had not taken anything or disturbed any of his victim’s possessions and, when questioned, claimed he had seen someone leaving the property and gone into the house to see if the woman was alright.

“That was clearly a pack of lies,” said Mr Haworth.

“It was just a complete fabrication on his part.

“He had the cunning and guile for trying to promote a legitimate reason for being in the house.”

Murray initially denied he had been in the woman’s bedroom but changed his story as his blood was found over the sheets, pillow and wardrobe door.

“He has been in astonishingly close proximity to [the victim],” said Mr Haworth.

Murray, aged 48, of Highwood Close, Breightmet, later admitted he had lied and pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, although he stressed that he had only carried to axe to intimidate if necessary.

Neighbours told police they had heard the sound of breaking glass and, at 2.30am, has seen Murray climbing into the woman’s house via a window next to the front door.

They heard the victim shouting “no” and “go away”.

In a victim statement read out in court the woman, who told how she had spoken to Murray a month earlier, said she is now unable to sleep in her bedroom.

“I expect to see him over me again like he was that night,” she said. “My entire sense of safety has gone.”

Murray was previously known as Robert Curtin and in 2004 he was jailed for 13 years for a series of sex attacks, including rape, on women and a 14-year-old girl, in their own homes in Salford.

He was released from prison in January 2016 and came to live in Breightmet where he was monitored by police and his offender manager regarded him as being of medium risk of sexual reoffending.

Ahmed Nadim, defending, told the court that his latest offence was not premeditated and he had not tried to disguise his appearance.

“He accepts that he was impaired as a result of the ingestion of drink and drugs,” said Mr Nadim.

“Once he went into the bedroom and the complainant reacted in the way she did that brought him to his senses.”

But Judge Graeme Smith rejected defence claims that Murray had been trying to reassure the woman that she was safe.

“You did everything you could to evade responsibility for your actions. You were acting in self-preservation rather than comforting and reassuring [the victim],” he said.

The judge decided Murray was so dangerous that he passed an extended sentence for public protection.

He was jailed for six years and eight months with a further three years on licence.

A restraining order was also made banning him from ever contacting his victim.