December 2006

‘Sexual predator’ jailed for life


A convicted serial rapist nicknamed the Spider who raped a teenage girl months after being released from jail, although he was living at a bail hostel under close supervision of probation officers has been sentenced to life

Richard Ewing, aged 41, originally from Exeter, pleaded guilty to five charges over the attack on the teenager in fields in Weymouth, Dorset, on 22 July.

He was convicted of two counts of rape, attempted rape, kidnapping and sexual assault at Dorchester Crown Court.

Ewing was sentenced to life in prison, to serve a minimum of nine years.

Rapist Richard Ewing was nicknamed the Spider because of the meticulous and ruthless way he carried out his sex attacks.

He followed the same pattern, stalking lone women and pouncing on them from behind in isolated spots.

He bound, gagged and blindfolded each of his victims, threatening them at knifepoint.

Judge John Beashel said: “This is not a nine-year prison sentence. It is a life sentence. “It potentially is a sentence that could lead to you remaining in prison for the rest of your life.

“Your victim was a virgin. She is of slight build. You are a powerful and fit man.

“You have demonstrated all too clearly that no matter the restrictions placed on you outside of prison you will find a way to obtain sexual gratification by attacking women.

“You are a very dangerous sexual predator.”

More than 100 police officers took part in a national search for Ewing after the attack in the summer.

He was found three days later by an off-duty chief superintendent near Bournemouth. Following his arrest, Ewing told police he had a “demon inside” him.

He said: “Even though I knew it was wrong, I’m wasting the rest of my life, but I still couldn’t do anything about it.”

He added: “Whoever it was has had his wicked way and left me to deal with it.”

In 1995, Ewing was convicted at Exeter Crown Court of raping a mother-of-three in 1989, attacking a woman in 1993 and raping a woman as she walked her dog along the River Exe in Devon in the same year.

Ewing used condoms in the past to ensure there was no DNA evidence and struck at least three times between 1989 and 1993 in Exeter before he was convicted in 1995.

He first raped a mother-of-three, who recognised Ewing from a glimpsed “anchor” tattoo on his hand, and he told her: “I am a professional at this.”

He struck again almost four years later when he attacked a woman in a valley on the edge of the city, and committed a serious sexual offence.

Four months later, Ewing trussed up and raped a woman in a copse on the outskirts of the city as she walked her dog. The victim heard clicks as straps fastened her wrists.

“He was abusive to her and left her tied by the dog lead to a tree when he had finished with her,”

He received an 18-year sentence for rape but was released from prison on his mandatory non-parole date in December 2005.

Ewing had been staying in “approved” accommodation in Westway Road, Weymouth, at the time of the attack in July and was subject to a curfew and electronic tagging.

Martin Meeke QC, prosecuting, told Dorchester Crown Court the probation service could not have done any more in terms of supervising Ewing.

“There was no discretion in the Home Office or the Parole Board as to his release. He was entitled to be released,” he said.

Ewing has been ordered to re-register as a sex offender.

NOTE: Ewing was born Richard Carpenter but changed his name by deed poll because he was a fan of the TV show Dallas