Vile X Factor wannabe had ‘rape kit’, filmed attacks and taped his victims’ mouths shut

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A former X Factor contestant and serial rapist who was sentenced to 17 life sentences had been leading a disturbing double life.

Evil Phillip Blackwell had a rape kit he would take with as he stalked women walking home from a night out alone.

He carried out a series of sickening attacks against nine victims spanning a 22 year period across three counties.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Cooke said Blackwell was the most dangerous offender he had ever dealt with in his 35 year career, apart from murderers.

The court heard evil Blackwell, 55, an ex supply teacher, would follow his victims, who he thought were wearing “attractive clothing”, when they were walking home at night alone.

The serial rapist would then pounce with a “rape kit” which included gaffer tape to bound their hands together and would speak in an Irish accent to avoid detection.

He would often say to victims “Don’t scream, I don’t want to hurt you” during the harrowing attacks across Birmingham and Nuneaton, Warkwickshire.

The sexual predator would also shower them with compliments such as “I want to marry you and make love to you” among other sickening forms of flattery.

But afterwards he would check their identification before chillingly telling them: “I know where you live”.

The court heard he would tape a victim’s eye’s shut during attacks while wearing a balaclava.

After attacking complete strangers he later targeted people he knew in Cornwall during a campaign of abuse from between the late 1990s until 2019.

The X-Factor flop previously admitting a total of 31 sexual offences at Warwick Crown Court.

Blackwell had achieved short-lived fame on the ITV show in 2008 when his cover of Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ failed to impress judges Cheryl, Louis and Simon.

During his TV appearance 12 years ago, the X-Factor flop told Cheryl how he hoped to achieve “multi-platinum-selling albums, all over the world”.

He also boasted that he believed there was nobody better in the UK charts than him at the time.

Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh were left in stitches with his comical rendition of Gold, in which he held the final note of the song for almost 30 seconds.

Described as a 43-year-old supply teacher at the time, he told the judges: “I think if you get me in the studio, I’ll be able to get albums out there. It’s a different act.”

He later said: “Louis loved me but Simon didn’t so it was left to Cheryl. I knew she wouldn’t have the guts to go against Simon. She’s gutless.”

He went on the shows’ UK tour and performed alongside other stars at the X-Factor Live events in 2009, which featured Alexandra Burke and JLS.

The serial rapist received 17 life sentences to run concurrently, with the possibility of a parole review after serving nine years.

Judge Peter Cooke said  “You got away with leading a double life.

“You are clever, calculating, forensically aware, devious, manipulative and plausible.

“To quote a victim, ‘I saw him as a charming man with a good sense of humour but he was sly and clever.’

“Going back 23 years ago, it is clear that you had equipped yourself with a rape kit.

“This included balaclava, Irish accent, tape for binding and camcorder to record the offending.

“It shows there was nothing spontaneous to your offending or loss of control or inner turmoil.

“You would get your kit together knowing what you were doing and you would go off to rape young woman. The covering of your tracks becomes more sophisticated.

“The later attack’s context is different, but it is strikingly similar.

“You appreciate female anatomy but that is the only regard you have for women.

“To give yourself permission to use women as you wish, with no regard for them or their feelings, you must regard women with a level of contempt shocking to contemplate.

“There is an utter lack of regard and contempt, to be used by you as and when you wish.

“The harm you have done is incalculable. A murderer takes life itself but you have taken so much from so many people.

“For two decades you have left lives ruined in your wake. You are to be sentenced for predatory sexual offending spanning 23 years and nine victims with some unknown ones.

“It is 47 rapes or attempts, some multiple offence counts, and the full gamut of sexual assaults.

“The totality of the offending and its seriousness undoubtedly take it out of the guidelines. You are before me for two campaigns of rape.

“It is clear from the early rapes and attempted rape that you were responsible for a campaign of stranger rapes.

“You were preying on lone women. It involved planning and selecting a target and location, to drag them so the attack could take place.

“False disguise, stories, accents. You made up a girlfriend as a cover story.

“It involved a combo of deception, promises and on occasion outright threats all in a view to having your way.

“There is an abundance of evidence you have caused physiological and physical harm.

“I must impose a sentence of imprisonment for life. If I were to conclude you would cease to be a danger it would have a backstop release date.

“I can only conclude that you will remain a serious danger to the public long into the future.

“The stranger rapes would have been sufficient on their own but this is a pattern of deeply disturbing sexually deviant behaviour.

“You are a very real danger to any female.

“It demonstrates that it is a serious pattern of sexual offending. Your past track record gives me no comfort at all and demonstrates the danger you pose.

“I am satisfied that you present a significant risk of causing harm or further offences. Your offending is so series and a life sentence has to be imposed.

“You are one of the most dangerous offenders for whom the most serious punishment must be given.

“I can think of no more dangerous individual of 35 years in criminal law apart from murderers.”

Addressing the victims, who watched the proceedings via video link, Judge Cooke added: “Ladies, I hope you find justice has been done on a man that wrongs you so grievously.

“Thank you for the bravery you have shown.

“I hope it brings you to comfort that he is embarking on a life sentence, knowing he has had his just deserts.”

The court heard specialist officers from Warwickshire Police recovered videos from Blackwell’s hard drive of him performing gross sexual acts on his victims while they were “comatose”

Police recovered 53 videos of the monster carrying out his crimes on some sleeping victims, which they concluded happened on at least 19 individual occasions.

Andrew Tucker, defending, said: “He has shown himself to be somebody as showing remorse for the agony and hurt he has caused numerous women.

“He has offered guilty pleas on virtually everything. It could be taken as remorse he is feeling.

“He has had an inability to control his impulses.

“He remains a human being and I ask you to treat him with humanity.”

Blackwell bowed his head forward in the dock and showed little emotion as he was sentenced.

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