Ex-soldier found guilty of rapes

 

A former soldier was today convicted of a string of sex attacks during which he told one victim: "I don't believe this, I'm a good-looking bloke" when she rejected his advances.

Brian Witty, 41, previously a Territorial Army Parachute Regiment captain, was found guilty of three rapes and one sexual assault by a jury at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in Surrey.

He launched four attacks between 1995 and 2011, meeting two of his victims through a dating website and pouncing on the others following chance encounters in bars.

He warned one of the women he had been in the forces and could do whatever he wanted - "even kill her".

The defendant, of Twickenham Road in Teddington, south-west London, denied the charges but a jury of eight women and four men found him guilty of all charges.

Judge Nicholas Price QC told Witty it was inevitable he would be sentenced to a long term of imprisonment.

Witty, dressed in a dark suit, closed his eyes and shook his head as the jury foreman read the verdicts.

Adjourning sentencing for reports, Judge Price said: "In the circumstances it is inevitable that you will be sentenced to a very long term of imprisonment.

"The only issue that this court has to make is if your behaviour is such, as it has been over a period of many years, that you should be considered to be dangerous and therefore liable to a term of imprisonment for the public protection."

The first of the four offences occurred on January 5 1995, with a woman Witty had originally met at the Slug and Lettuce pub in Fulham, south-west London.

They had a consensual one-night stand and it was five months before Witty bumped into the woman again at the same venue, jurors were told.

But that night she told him there would be no repeat of their tryst as she had just split up with her boyfriend, the court was told.

Witty replied: "I don't know why not anyway as it's already happened before so it shouldn't make a difference."

The woman made it clear she did not want to have sex with anyone that night, but eventually agreed to go home with him.

Back at his flat, Witty cajoled her to sleep with him though she refused and began to cry.

Prosecutor Edmund Gritt told the court this prompted Witty to leap out of bed, saying: "I don't believe this, I'm a good-looking bloke."

He finally stopped pressing the woman for sex and she fell asleep, only to wake and find Witty raping her.

The woman went straight to the police and Witty was arrested in the early morning.

He told officers the sex had been consensual and suggested the reason for the allegation was his admission to the woman he had a girlfriend.

Some 11 years later, another allegation was made against him, by a woman who said he had sexually assaulted her.

Then aged 25, she met Witty through DatingDirect.com and they arranged a date on May 3 2006, in Covent Garden, central London.

Witty became "sexually forward" after a few drinks and the pair ended up in a deserted alleyway later.

There, Witty "steered" the woman against a wall and began to kiss her and make sexual advances despite her repeatedly saying "no" and beginning to cry.

She told him she wanted a taxi home but he led her to a covered walkway behind the Adelphi Theatre, where he kissed and groped her and performed a sex act on her against her will.

The woman reported the sexual assault to the police the following day but Witty told officers the sexual activity had been "completely mutual".

On October 1 2008, Witty met the third victim by chance in a bar in the City of London, where they kissed.

Three days later they arranged to meet again in Richmond, south-west London, where they had drinks in a pub before returning to Witty's flat in nearby Teddington.

After attempting sexual activity with the woman, he warned her he had been in the Army, was still a trainer and could do whatever he wanted - "even kill her". He then raped her.

Arrested once again after the woman went to the police, Witty told officers the sex had been consensual and that he had upset her during a conversation afterwards in which he had jokingly told her to "f*** off".

Witty met the fourth victim through the same dating website and they arranged to meet at The Anglers pub in Teddington on August 3 last year.

The ex-soldier, who has done secondments with the regular Army, was said to have been drinking at "quite a pace" before he invited the woman back to his flat.

He had sex with her there despite her saying "no" and the woman left "in distress, shaking and crying", the trial was told.

The woman immediately told police she had been raped and Witty was arrested at his flat within two-and-a-half hours.

He again told officers the sex had been consensual.

During the trial, Mr Gritt told the court: "What emerges from the four different accounts of the four different women is one picture of one man who, with quite a few drinks inside him, is determined to get what he wants and who will not take no for an answer."

After the verdicts Mr Gritt told the court Witty had been previously been convicted of common assault on the mother of his son.

He also had a police caution for assaulting his then-partner in 2005, Mr Gritt said.

Judge Price QC told the jury they would not have to serve on a panel for five years and said the case they had listened to had been "distressing".

Witty will be sentenced on May 25.

Detective Inspector Michael Murfin, of the Metropolitan Police's Sapphire unit, said: "Sapphire moved under the command of the specialist crime directorate in September 2009, with the aim of providing a more consistent service to victims whose care and well-being is at the heart of each investigation.

"We want victims to have the confidence that we are here for them, will believe them and will conduct our investigations professionally. We want rapists and those committing other sex offences to know that our dedicated teams are committed to ensuring we arrest them.

"I hope that Witty's conviction today helps to reinforce that message.

"Brian Witty is a predatory rapist and I would urge anyone who thinks they may have been raped or sexually assaulted by him to contact the police in complete confidence on 0208 247 4923.

"Lastly, I would like to pay tribute to the bravery of the women who Witty raped and sexually assaulted. I would like to thank them each for their courage in coming forward to report their ordeals and having the strength to give evidence against him in court."

Lisa Longstaff, of Women Against Rape, who was in court supporting one of Witty's victims, said: "The trial has shown, once again, that with serial rapists police and CPS have a serial response - they believe the rapist rather than his victim, turning their backs on women's pain.

"The fourth investigation was far better than the previous ones. Witnesses who had been neglected were interviewed and evidence gathered.

"This is what should happen every time rape is reported.

"In some countries it takes two women to give evidence to carry the legal weight of one man. Here it took four."

CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor Alison Saunders said: "Today's conviction means that a dangerous sex offender will now be imprisoned.

"Brian Witty earned women's trust after meeting them in social situations. When he then had them alone he turned violent and subjected them to a serious sexual assault.

"For some of the victims justice has been a long time coming and I thank them for their support of this prosecution and the evidence they provided to the court."

PA

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