December 2020

Child rapist who held family hostage is jailed for 23 years

A child rapist who held a family at knifepoint and said he wanted to go out in a “blaze of glory” has been jailed for 23 years.

Sentencing David Watts at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Martin Picton described the Wiltshire man as having been completely out of control.

He said: “The footage that the police captured of the arrest clearly demonstrates the level of terror which the defendant generated in the minds of the victims who must have feared that they would not get out of that house alive.

“The defendant had a long time to reflect upon what he was doing and yet persisted in a determined fashion to keep them in the house and create as much terror as he could.”

And the judge praised the bravery of police officers who smashed their way into the house where 40-year-old Watts was holding a knife to a woman’s throat – with her children barricaded together with them in the same upstairs bedroom.

The knifeman had to be Tasered by police officers, who sustained serious injuries wrestling the man to the ground.

Watts, who was last month found guilty of child rape, false imprisonment and making threats to kill, had initially failed to turn up to his sentencing hearing at Bristol on Tuesday. Similarly, he was absent from his trial – although had been ruled fit to stand trial

However, after a lengthy adjournment he appeared over the video link from HMP Bristol

Almost without pausing for breath, Watts accused the justice system of being “sick”, claimed that psychological reports had not been undertaken on him and said his barrister had laughed at him.

Appearing over the link wearing an orange Slazenger polo shirt, he told the judge: “The high court’s got involved. Mark my words, this isn’t finished yet.” He left the video link booth, saying: “I’ve said my bit. Have a nice day.”

During the trial, jurors at Bristol Crown Court heard that rapist Watts had been found out when his young victim’s mother walked in on him molesting her daughter late one night in June 2020 at a house in Ramsbury.

The following morning he threatened the woman with a knife and had also stopped her from calling the police.

Watts went on to hold the woman and her children against their will in an upstairs room.

Prosecutor Charles Row told the Bristol jury: “The defendant slammed the living room door and declared that they were now his hostages. He said he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. He said now that they were his hostages it was going to be an interesting couple of days.”

First on the scene was a special constable, David Turner. He tried knocking on the door but could raise no answer.

SPC Turner went to the back garden as his colleagues tried to batter down the door. Mr Row said: “As he was watching, the officer said one of the children put a note up to the window.” It read: “Just break in, he’s trying to stab us.”

The front door would not yield, so police smashed through a window then kicked their way into the bedroom, jurors heard. One of the officers was forced to use his Taser in an attempt to detain Watts.

Interviewed by police, the man claimed to have no recollection of the incident. He said he was a binge drinker who habitually drank vodka every weekend.

Watts was absent for the trial, despite numerous attempts by the court to persuade him to instruct lawyers.

Judge Picton told the court on Tuesday that he had written to the defendant telling him of the upcoming sentencing hearing.

The judge found Watts to be a dangerous offender, meaning he must serve at least two thirds of his sentence behind bars.

He was made subject to a five year extended licence period and must register as a sex offender for life.

Judge Picton imposed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.