June 2020

X Factor contestant branded ‘dangerous sexual predator’ as he pleads guilty to raping women over three decades

A former X Factor contestant has pleaded guilty to raping multiple females and taking indecent images of a child spanning three decades.

Phillip Blackwell, 55, was told to expect a lengthy jail term as he was branded a ‘dangerous and manipulative sexual predator’ at Warwick Crown Court on Thursday, 18 June. 

The court heard that Blackwell, who auditioned for The X Factor in 2008, committed 31 sexual offences against nine victims over 22 years ‘while maintaining a veneer of respectability’ in his community. 

The offences took place in Nuneaton, Warks., and Birmingham in the late 1990s and in Cornwall between 2005 and 2019 – before and after his time on the show

Blackwell, of Launceston, Cornwall, was charged in January following a joint investigation between Warwickshire and West Midlands Police.

In February, he pleaded guilty to sex 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 females were walking alone in the early hours when they were attacked from behind before being raped or subjected to other sexual offences

He admitted four counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, five counts of indecent assault and one count of false imprisonment.

Warwickshire Police then launched one of their biggest ever operations and tracked down more victims in Cornwall, and Blackwell appeared via video link where he pleaded guilty to a further 20 sexual offences against three women.

This included nine counts of rape, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault by penetration and three counts of voyeurism.

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

Blackwell will be sentenced at the same court on 27 July.