Launceston sex offender committed 31 offences

From Devon & Cornwall Police:

 

A serial sex attacker from Cornwall has pleaded guilty to committing sexual offences against women over a period spanning three decades across three counties.

Appearing at Warwick Crown Court in February Phillip Blackwell, 55, pleaded guilty to committing sexual offences against five women, four of which occurred in Birmingham over 1997 and 1998 and one in Nuneaton in May 1998.

In each case, the young women were walking alone in the early hours of the morning when they were attacked from behind before being raped or subjected to other sexual offences.

Warwickshire Police launched Operation Fairway, working in collaboration with West Midlands Police and the National Crime Agency, to lead one of the biggest investigations ever carried out by the Warwickshire Force.

Following Blackwell’s arrest at his home address in Launceston, Cornwall, earlier this year, he was interviewed by Warwickshire police officers regarding the 1990s offences in Nuneaton and Birmingham.

Appearing at Warwick Crown Court on 28 February, Blackwell pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, five counts of indecent assault and one count of false imprisonment.

Following his plea at court in February, Warwickshire Police took the lead on investigating a string of sexual offences against four women in Cornwall.

Blackwell then appeared via video link at court again in May where he pleaded guilty to a further 20 sexual offences. This included nine counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault by penetration and three counts of voyeurism. These offences were committed against three women between 2005 and 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of taking indecent photographs of a child and a count of voyeurism in relation to the same child.

Blackwell appeared at court again on Thursday 18 June where restrictions on reporting court proceedings were lifted allowing police to report the details of his offences. He was told he will be sentenced on 27 July.

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Corfield from the Warwickshire Police Major Investigation Unit said: “Blackwell offended on a huge scale. It is clear he is a dangerous and manipulative sexual predator who has caused untold misery to his victims for the purpose of his own sexual gratification. He poses a serious danger to women.

“Today, after more than 20 years of offending, Blackwell’s past has caught up with him and now he must face the consequences of his actions.

“Most of the survivors of his crimes have had to wait many years for justice and will have been forced to relive the horrors Blackwell subjected them to. All the women he has attacked and abused have shown immense courage and I hope they can take some comfort from this conviction.”

Karen Hackett, of the CPS, said: “The CPS worked in partnership with Warwickshire Police who led investigations involving Devon and Cornwall and West Midlands Police to build a strong prosecution case against Phillip Blackwell to reflect the gravity of the offences. The weight of the evidence against him was such that he had little option but to plead guilty.

“Blackwell is a prolific sex offender who committed 31 sexual offences against nine victims over 22 years while maintaining a veneer of respectability in the communities in which he lived. His victims have all suffered life-changing consequences due to his crimes, and we are pleased that he has finally been brought to justice.”

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