February 2014

Brutal rapist jailed for 20 years branded ‘an extremely dangerous man’

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A dangerous rapist will spend 20 years behind bars for the horrific abduction and rape of a female jogger.

Peter Watton, of Henley Road, Lache lay in wait for a victim on the Duke’s Drive, Chester before dragging a woman into the bushes and raping her eight times during the nightmare ordeal.

Watton had only been released on licence for two days when he threatened her with a knife, forced her to perform sexual acts on him and led her to the banks of the River Dee, where she feared she was going to die.

On Friday (February 7), The Recorder of Chester Judge Elgan Edwards branded Watton as an ‘extremely dangerous man’ as he sentenced the remorseless criminal to an extended sentence of 24 years.

Watton, 37, who refused to attend court to hear his punishment, will serve 20 years behind bars for the horrific crimes – he will spend the final four years on licence.

Judge Edwards branded Watton as “significant risk of serious harm to all women” saying it was the “worst rape case he had ever heard” in his many years as a judge.

“There is not a shadow of a doubt that Peter Watton is an extremely dangerous man,” said Judge Edwards, who said his victim had been degraded in every possible way, and slated Watton for refusing to attend court, despite forcing his victim to relive her experiences in court.

“He lay in wait for anyone who happened to come in his vicinity. It was unfortunate for that young woman who was there simply running with her dog, a past time one would have thought safe so near to the city.

“She did not escape for some nine hours. She escaped by showing a great deal of courage. I accept she genuienly believed she was going to die.”

“No woman should have to be put through the kind of torment this lady had to be put through, and the torment continues to this day.”

As the sentence was read out Watton’s mother and family hung their heads and sobbed from the public gallery, but Judge Edwards said the 37-year-old had not shown a ‘shred of remorse’ for his ‘horrific’ crimes.

“He put forward a ludicrous defence that she had consented on a woodland path on a wet day in June,” he said.

“In my judgement the defendant Mr Peter Watton is a dominating and extreamly dangerous man, a man who was calculating, and a man who has his own way whatever the views of other people where.

“This is the worst case of rape and repeated rape I have ever had the misfortune to come across.”

Watton’s defence argued the 37-year-old had never been physically violent towards his victim, but Judge Edwards said that was down to her ‘intellegence’ and ‘courage’ and her realisation that by keeping him calm she might be able to escape her greatest fear “that she was going to die”. 

In a victim impact statement, read out to the court by Owen Edwards, prosecuting, Watton’s victim said she ‘no longer felt safe’ and had nightmares about her abduction.

“She no longer feels safe, she is scared of strangers and of men,” said Mr Edwards.

“She no longer feels safe outside the house. She finds it extreamely difficult to discuss the details of this case with anyone outside her immediate family.

“She’s lost weight, she feels embarresment, She has nightmares and finds it really difficult to work.

Mr Edwards said Watton’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons was a fit person and a regular runner who felt safe running around Chester before that day – she never thought for one moment she would be a victim of such a horrific crime.   

Watton, has 27 convictions for 132 offences, including kidnapping and robbery offences in 2010 for which he served half of a six year sentence before being released on licence last year.

Two days later he lay in wait for a random victim, before ambushing her and raping her eight times, assaulting her with objects, before she finally ran for her life nine hours later.

Back in 1999 Watton, was jailed for six years after attempting to violently abduct a lone woman when she was driving along Eardswick Lane, Crewe after absconding from HMP Sudbury and stealing a car with a fellow inmate.

He had pretended he was a plain clothes police officer, pulled her over for speeding and tried to abduct her on the side of the road. He punched her repeatedly in the face.

But the court heard how despite the victim claiming the attack had a sexual element to it, Watton had never been charged with a sexually motivated crime despite his lengthy record.

Watton walked out of an open prison in 2009, three days later he kidnapped a teenager from a house in Davenport Avenue, Crewe for hours and robbing a terrified young couple in their Holmes Chapel home.

The 37-year-old convicted kidnapper was found guilty of raping the jogger eight times, sexually assaulting her with objects and threatening her with a knife, during the horrifying nine hour abduction.

It took the jury of nine women and three men just over two hours to find Watton guilty of all 12 counts, following a harrowing five-day-trial at Chester Crown Court, last month. 

For the count of possession of a knife, Watton recieved an additional sentence of four years, to run concurrently.

On June 14 last year the 44-year-old victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was out jogging with her dog when she was dragged into the woodland by Watton, who tied her up and repeatedly raped her during the nine-hour abduction.

She eventually ran for her life, scaling fences and running flat-out with her dog towards houses to get away from muscle-bound Watton.

“He was very intent on getting me down to the river,” she said during a police interview played in the trial, describing the final scene of her terrifying abduction in broad daylight at 3pm.

“I thought he was going to whack me over the head, stab me with the knife and throw me in the river. I thought I would be found floating towards Chester. I didn’t want to die that way.”

Throughout the trial, heavily tattooed Watton strenuously denied abducting and raping the female jogger, insisting they had consensual sex.

Instead, he had threatened his victim with a knife, saying he had been ‘watching her for two weeks’, knew where she lived and threatened her family.

A nationwide manhunt was launched after Watton went on the run. He was arrested five days later after an off-duty special constable spotted him on the railway tracks and chased him. He was eventually arrested on the A483 near Rossett after walking out on to the road.

Watton’s victim left a trail of clothing as she was led to three remote parts of the woodland path and repeatedly raped – she hoped someone would realise what had happened to her if she didn’t get away.

She also collected evidence in the hope she would be able to identify her attacker and led police back around the route, just hours after she ran for her life from the man she was sure was about to kill her.

July 2010

Duo jailed after kidnapping teenager in hunt for drugs

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TWO robbers who kidnapped a teenager and forced him to drive them around while they tried to score drugs have been jailed for a total of 11 years.

Peter Watton and Reginald Corbett were convicted of kidnap and two charges of robbery following a trial at Chester Crown Court in May.

The court heard yesterday that on November 30 last year, the defendants intimidated 18-year-old Daniel Copper into driving them around Crewe to find cannabis. At one point the victim was blindfolded.

Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, said: “They ended up at a flat in Crewe which belonged to Daniel Taylor. He was not in, but his housemate and his 16-year-old girlfriend were there.

“The defendants searched the place and stole a laptop and a significant amount of clothing. Watton threatened the pair and Corbett threatened to ‘burn the place down’ before they left.”

The court heard that a third man involved, who has not been identified or caught, was armed with a screwdriver.

Watton, aged 34, of West Street, Crewe, was jailed for six years in 2000 for an attempted kidnapping, and has a lengthy record of dishonesty offences.

Corbett, aged 25, of Marshfield Avenue, Crewe, was given an indefinite jail sentence in 2008 for two charges of rape.

He later successfully appealed against one of the convictions.

David Mawdsley, defending Corbett, said: “This wasn’t a planned offence nor was it a violent robbery. No weapons were brandished by the defendant and any threats made were brief and verbal, and did not involve any violence.”

Simon Christie, defending Watton, told the court his client had shown remorse for what he did.

He said: “There has been a clear admission of guilt and a desire to put all this behind him when he finished his spell in prison.

“He has written a letter to the court to express his remorse and fears for his future.”

Judge Thomas Teague told the pair: “Your victim, who you made drive around Crewe so you could obtain drugs, was significantly younger than you. You intimidated him, blindfolding him at one point, which must have been a very frightening experience for him.

“I sentence you on the basis that you were not armed with weapons but your accomplice had a screwdriver.

“You demanded money from a young man and his girlfriend, and then stole a laptop and clothing, before you threatened to burn the flat down.

“They were obviously left frightened and distressed by the ordeal.”

Judge Teague sentenced Watton to four years for the kidnap and six years for the robbery, to run concurrently.

Watton was also given an additional 12-month concurrent sentence for handling stolen goods, which related to an incident in which number plates were replaced on a stolen BMW.

Corbett was sentenced to three years for the kidnap and five years for the robbery, to run concurrently.