Court told of jogger's nine-hour rape ordeal


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A WOMAN was left fearing for her life after being subjected to a terrifying nine hour rape ordeal at the hands of a man who had only been out of prison two days, it was alleged in court.

Jurors at the beginning of the rape trial of Peter Watton, 37, heard yesterday how he allegedly subjected the woman to a series of degrading sexual assaults in June last year after he had spotted her running with her dog in woodland.On the opening day of the trial at Chester Crown Court the jury was told how Watton was eventually arrested in Rossett after being on the run for five days.

The court heard how an off-duty Special Constable recognised Watton when a train was stopped near Rossett after a man had crossed the tracks.

He (the Special Constable) recognised the defendant from pictures released to police and press during the search and left the train to give chase.

The court was told Watton, of Henley Road, Lache, Chester, threatened the 44-year-old woman with a kitchen knife and threatened to harm her and her family if she did not give in to his sexual demands.

Jurors heard how the woman’s ordeal began at about 3pm on June 14 when Watton, who had only been released on licence from HMP Risley two days earlier after being jailed for kidnap and robbery in 2010, had been waiting with his mountain bike on the Duke’s Drive pathway, near LA Fitness gym, off Wrexham Road, Chester, for lone females to target.

The woman, who had been out for a run with her dog, came across the defendant pushing his bike in her direction before he allegedly told her to “have a good run”.

The court heard how, within moments of this brief exchange, the woman was shoved into the undergrowth of the remote path, away from passers by, where she was told by Watton: “I’ve been watching you for two weeks. I know where you live.”

It was at this point where jurors were told by Owen Edwards, prosecuting, how the woman’s ordeal began, with eight of the 12 offences alleged taking place at the scene, forcing her to perform a series of sexual acts.

Mr Edwards told the court Watton kept the victim at the secluded location for about an hour, forcing her to perform a series of sexual acts, tying her hands with shoelaces, putting his sock in her mouth and forcing her head into the mud while he raped her.

The defendant marched the woman, who had tried not to look at Watton’s face for fear he would harm her if she could identify him, through the undergrowth to another location. There she attempted to make a break for it - something which had angered Watton.

Mr Edwards said: “He (Watton) grabbed her and said ‘You’ve been stupid. You’ve done everything I said so far so why have you been stupid now. You’ve spoilt it.”

Mr Edwards told how, following this, Watton had a change in attitude as he and the woman, who he had now untied, walked through the woodland.

“There was a change in his attitude as they walked. He began to talk as if he wanted the victim to feel sorry for him and even like him,” said Mr Edwards.

“He was very erratic, one minute talking about his life and his knowledge of birds and wildlife before becoming paranoid about helicopters passing overhead.”

At about 5pm a passer-by had seen the two walking, claiming that the woman had seemed “bereft” and that the situation “looked odd”.

The court heard how, after some time, the defendant had marched the woman to a nearby ‘hidey hole’ alongside a field near Handbridge where he told her that “he couldn’t forgive himself for what he had done” and intended to kill himself by taking a drugs overdose.

“She (the woman) tried to build a rapport with him in the hope that he would let her go,” said Mr Edwards. “He wanted comfort, he wanted her to put her head on his chest, kiss him and reassure him.

“He took drugs and she waited, hoping that they would start to take effect so she could escape.”

It was at this point where it is alleged that Watton forced the woman to perform a sex act on him once more.

The court heard how the woman had the idea of leaving items of clothing at the locations that they had been at in the hope that somebody would find them.

Jurors heard that, by this time, the woman’s boyfriend had contacted the police and the Countess of Chester Hospital after becoming worried about her whereabouts.

Mr Edwards said: “She was scared and cold and thinking of ways to survive the ordeal.

“Despite the fact that he was being ‘nice’ in the hidey hole, it was here that he decided to show his knife and thrust it in and out of the ground.”

Mr Edwards said Watton and the woman, whose dog had stayed by her side the whole time of the ordeal, spent several hours in the hidey hole before he told her, once it had gone dark, that it was time to leave.

The court was told Watton had said that they were heading for the river and he had promised to let her go.

“She was very scared that he intended to murder her,” said Mr Edwards.

“He asked her to say they were having an affair and she promised that she wouldn’t tell the police.

“He said that if they (the police) were called then he would ‘take a lot of them out’.”

It is alleged that Watton forced the woman to perfom a sex act on him once more, making a break for freedom with her dog once she had done so, making it to a nearby home close to Eaton Road after seeing a light on.

It was from here, shortly after midnight, where she called the police and provided an account of her ordeal and a manhunt was launched for Watton.

Watton went on the run for five days before being spotted at about 5pm on Thursday, June 20, by an off duty Special Constable when a train was stopped near Rossett after a man had crossed the tracks.

The police had been searching for him after the woman identified his tattoos, including his name ‘Pete’ across his knuckles, leading them to his mother’s house at about 3am on the evening of June 14, where there was no sign of him and his tea had been left uneaten on the table next to a note from his mother.

He (the Special Constable) recognised the defendant from pictures released to police and press during the search and left the train to give chase.

Watton was eventually arrested near Llyndir Lane, Rossett, after he had been sleeping under a bridge in his sleeping bag for a number of days while he attempted to evade capture.

Mr Edwards said: “Police recovered exhibits, including laces and a sock, which she (the woman) had kept following the attack, knowing that they might help to identify her attacker.

“Those exhibits were to provide damning evidence against the defendant who, in due course, was left with no option other than to invent his preposterous tale of a brief, passionate encounter.”

Watton denies all charges against him, which include nine counts of rape, one of false imprisonment, one of possession of a bladed article and two of assault by penetration, claiming that the sexual intercourse was consensual.


See full story in the Chester Leader

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