A violent stalker who abseiled into a mother's apartment from the roof of her building, bludgeoned her with a crowbar and left her for dead has been jailed for 18 years.

Fatmir Stafasani, from Albania, was said to have become infatuated with victim Blerta Sulaj and warned it would be her "last day" before smashing her over the head.

She managed to crawl from her top-floor apartment to a neighbour's home for help despite suffering a fractured skull, broken fingers and cuts to her hands.

She fell unconscious and spent nine days in a coma in hospital, but managed to survive.

Stafasani, 49, was found guilty of her attempted murder and aggravated burglary at Southwark Crown Court. He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment on Thursday (23 November).

The court heard how Stafasani, of Brunswick Court, Bermondsey, and his victim first met while she was working as a nurse in Albania in 2012, before settling in the UK last year.

Sulaj said she considered him as a friend but that she soon "realised what his true intentions were" after the pair met again in Thornton Heath, south London.

"His real intention was to belong to him as if I was an item," she told the court. "He found the address, he was on the search. Wherever I put my step his shadow was behind."

Despite pleading to be left alone, Sulaj said her attacker managed to somehow track her down to her home in Fulham. Her son later claimed to have seen Stafasani sitting in a blue Mercedes about 20 times in the month before the attack.

On 20 March, Stafasani gained access to the roof of his victim's building, set up a makeshift climbing rig and abseiled into her apartment from a bathroom skylight.

He then waited for around an hour for Sulaj to return from a shopping trip, with her eventually coming home at around 2.30pm.

Jurors heard how she made her way to the bedroom to remove her shoes before then being bludgeoned in the back of the head with a crowbar. In a chilling threat, her attacker told her: "This is your last day."

Sulaj screamed for help but Stafasani closed the door and resumed his vicious attack.

She spent four weeks recovering in hospital and continues to suffer physical and emotional injury.

Police found nothing stolen from the flat and subsequent enquiries – including analysis of CCTV, witness accounts, monitoring of vehicle movements and scrutinising mobile phone data – identified the key suspect as Stafasani while the victim was in a coma.

While Stafasani pleaded not guilty and remained silent during the trial, he was convicted after Sulaj identified him as her attacker and his DNA was found on climbing webbing used to abseil into the flat.

Detective Inspector Damian Ash,of the Met Police, said: "This was a particularly heinous attack in the victim's own home, which involved careful and premeditated planning by Stafasani.

"He abseiled into her flat and lay in wait before carrying out a vicious attack and leaving her for dead.

"We do not know the motive behind this attack. Fatmir Stafasani has remained silent throughout, and even now has shown no emotion.

"I'd like to pay tribute to Detective Constable Alex Rum who worked tirelessly on the case, to the medical staff at St Mary's Hospital who no doubt saved the victim's life and most of all to the victim herself who showed great courage throughout this investigation.

"The investigation team and I hope she can continue to make the best possible recovery."