Ex-soldier jailed for sex attacks

 

A former soldier who carried out a string of sex attacks has been jailed indefinitely.

Judge Nicholas Price QC described Brian Witty, 41, as a "predatory rapist" as he told the former Territorial Army Parachute Regiment captain he would serve at least eight years before he could be considered for release.

Witty, who told one victim who rejected him: "I don't believe this, I'm a good-looking bloke", was convicted last month of three rapes and one sexual assault on four women between 1995 and 2011.

Judge Price, sentencing Witty at Kingston Crown Court today, told him he was a "bullying, self-obsessed, arrogant sexual predator who was determined to indulge in fulfilling your desires, irrespective and dismissive of their pleas".

Witty, of Twickenham Road, in Teddington, south-west London, met two of his victims through a dating website and preyed on the others after chance encounters in bars.

But after he was arrested he claimed the sexual encounters were consensual.

Judge Price jailed him for six years for a rape in 1995, to run concurrently with three separate indeterminate sentences for two other rapes and a sexual assault.

Witty was told he would serve a minimum of eight years behind bars.

Handing down his sentence, Judge Price said: "There is no doubt in my mind that you present a very real danger to women, and the only appropriate sentence in your case is one of imprisonment for public protection.

"It is clear to me you set out to prey on vulnerable women.

"You hid your base intentions behind a veneer of charm and lulled your victims into a false sense of security.

"Each of them was beguiled into believing that with your military background and apparent social attributes that you were a gentleman and would behave as one.

"Each of your victims described in chilling evidence how you went from being plausible and caring into a bullying, self-obsessed, arrogant sexual predator who was determined to indulge in fulfilling your desires, irrespective and dismissive of their pleas that you should desist."

Despite being arrested and interviewed after the rape at his home address in 1995, again after a sexual assault in 2006 and after another rape in 2008, charges were never brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Judge Price told Witty: "The consequences meant you considered yourself to be untouchable by the authorities.

"With the benefit of hindsight it is perhaps too easy to say that, had you been successfully prosecuted in 1995, you may well not have been free to commit these other later serious offences."

It was only after Witty was arrested following a fourth attack in August last year, during which Judge Price said he changed from being "charming and good company" to a "demanding, frightening and determined rapist" that charges were brought.

Judge Price praised the women for coming forward again after so many years, saying if it had not been for the determination of Witty's last victim he may never have been brought to justice.

The attacks had "a clear and obvious and serious effect for each of his victims", prosecutor Edmund Gritt said.

A statement from his first victim read: "When I heard the verdict I was happy. I thought I would be happier, but I wasn't.

"The fact is, what happened to me 17 years ago has shaped who I am today, emotionally and physically. Memories I thought I had escaped are still there.

"My challenge is to move on from this, but the problem with moving on is that I will never forget. It is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life."

A statement from Witty's final victim read: "There have been times when I struggled to ever see a way forward through all this, yet I know I have to.

"The guilty verdict doesn't change the past. I still have to find a way to live with myself now, a changed and different person from that that I was before."

Judge Price said: "If anyone ever doubted the devastating long-term consequences of rape and sexual assault, these statements provide eloquent testimony against such doubt."

Witty was placed on the sex offenders register for life, and if released will be on licence for life.

Detective Inspector Michael Murfin, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "Brian Witty's conviction and sentence comes following a detailed and dedicated investigation by specialist detectives who worked tirelessly to gather the evidence required to prosecute him and to also support the women he raped and sexually assaulted.

"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.

"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."

PA

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