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‘Monstrous’ X Factor contestant Phillip Blackwell jailed for rape

A “monstrous” former X Factor contestant who raped women over a 22-year period has been jailed for life.

Phillip Blackwell, 56, equipped himself with a “rape kit”, taped some victims’ eyes shut and used a camcorder to film himself attacking women.

Blackwell admitted 31 sex offences and was described as one of “the most dangerous individuals” his sentencing judge had encountered in his career.

He targeted young women walking alone in Birmingham, Coventry and Nuneaton.

He also carried out offences on four women in the Launceston area of Cornwall.

Blackwell, of Western Road, Launceston, pleaded guilty to offences including rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, assault by penetration, voyeurism and false imprisonment.

Judge Peter Cook, sitting at Warwick Crown Court, said he had “no regard whatsoever for [women] as human beings”.

“You must treat them with a level of contempt that is too shocking to even contemplate,” he said.

Judge Cook also branded the attacker, who was a contestant on X Factor in 2008 and toured with its live show in 2009, as a devious and manipulative man who had left “ruined and blighted lives” in his wake.

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The court heard how Blackwell equipped himself with a “rape kit” including a balaclava, tape for binding hands and covering eyes, and a camcorder to record his attacks.

Prosecutor Adrian Langdale QC told jurors Blackwell “plied victims with alcohol” and some attacks were carried out on women who were unconscious.

He used “delusional terms” while attacking his victims, jurors heard. He told one woman: “If I met a girl like you, I would want to marry you. I want you to enjoy this.”

He also took steps to conceal his identity, with his first victim being told to “close her eyes and count to 100” after he had finished attacking her, Mr Langdale said.

‘I know where you live’

One victim persuaded Blackwell to remove his balaclava and not to rape her, he said she “should be a social worker for talking him out of it”.

He also threatened victims in order to prevent them from telling police, with one woman being told: “I know where you live. You have a beautiful body and I can do this over and over again.”

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Mr Langdale told the court how Blackwell often “grabbed” his victims from behind.

“He identified young females dressed in a particular way that he found attractive, [and] followed them in his car.

“It was cold, calculated behaviour.”

Following attacks in the late 1990s in the Midlands, Blackwell carried out offences on women in the Launceston area between 2005 and 2019.

He will serve a minimum of nine years before first being considered for parole.

Head of the West Midlands Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Unit Lawrence English said what made the case so exceptional was that Blackwell “serially raped women in the 1990s, and again in the 2000s”.

Mr English said it showed he remained “an extremely dangerous predator” in that “recent chilling footage” was recovered of him following young women in his car and then getting ahead of them and doubling back toward them – the same technique used in some of the 1990s rapes.

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