A burglar raped a New York woman at gunpoint in her own home after forcing her to choose between rape, death or having sex with her own son, police say.

Joshua Henderson, 33, who has a lengthy criminal history, is accused of posing as a construction worker to access the woman's apartment in the borough of Queens before committing the horrendous crime.

The New York Daily News reported that Henderson was on parole at the time of the offence, with his ankle bracelet's tracking technology putting him at the scene of the crime.

After knocking at the door wearing a high-vis vest and having a short conversation with the victim, Henderson then broke into the apartment through an unlocked fire escape window, police said.

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The woman was at home with her adult son. Her other son, a teenager with special needs, was not at home at the time.

Henderson, whose nickname is Looney, convinced the woman that he had a gun before giving her his sickening ultimatum and raping her while her son was tied up in another room.

Police say he then used soapy water to try and remove DNA evidence before taking jewellery, money and other valuables.

Henderson was arrested on charges including rape and robbery and picked out from a lineup by the victim.

He was also caught on CCTV, prosecutors told the Daily News.

Joshua Henderson faces charges including rape and robbery. Photo / NYPD
Joshua Henderson faces charges including rape and robbery. Photo / NYPD

After his appearance in court, where he was ordered to be held without bail, his wife spoke in his defence.

"How could they do this to him? He didn't do anything. He has three kids and a wife at home," said Joanna Henderson, 37.

"He's a loving, caring man. He'd give you his last. The DNA is going to prove he didn't do this. I'm telling you the DNA is going to prove he didn't do anything."

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Henderson's rap sheet includes crimes going back at least 10 years and he served nine years in prison before being paroled in July 2018.