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Serial rapist who craved TV X Factor fame behind bars for life

during his
X Factor
audition in

A FORMER X Factor contestant who carried out sex attacks on nine women over a 22-year period has been jailed for life.

Serial rapist Phillip Blackwell was described as ‘pure evil’ by one victim after a court heard he remained ‘cold and calculated’ as he taped young women’s eyes shut and used a camcorder to film himself attacking them.

The 56-year-old ‘carefully targeted’ five young vulnerable women who were walking alone in Birmingham, Coventry and Nuneaton in the late 1990s and another four in the Launceston area of Cornwall between 2005 and 2019.

Sentencing Blackwell at Warwick crown court yesterday, Judge Peter Cooke described him as ‘monstrous’. He said: ‘Murderers aside, I can think of no more dangerous an individual that I have crossed in my 35 years in criminal law.’

Despite the rapist disguising himself by putting on a ‘soft Irish accent’ and wearing a balaclava or mask while carrying out his attacks, the court heard his fear of being caught did not match his desire for ‘notoriety and fame’.

Blackwell’s X Factor audition was broadcast as part of the 2008 series. The musician — who played in bands named AWOL, Missing People and Suspect — failed to reach the finals but toured with the live show in 2009.

Judge Cooke said it was clear Blackwell carried ‘a rape kit’ and had no regard for women ‘as human beings’, adding: ‘You must treat them with a level of contempt that is too shocking to even contemplate.’

The judge said: ‘You got away with leading a double life for as long as that because you are clever, you are calculated, you are forensically aware, you are devious and because you are manipulative.’ Prosecutor Adrian Langdale QC said Blackwell ‘identified young females dressed in a particular way’ and followed them in his car to places where he could carry out an attack.

‘Pure evil’: Phillip Blackwell PICTURE: SWNS

Mr Langdale told the court Blackwell often ‘grabbed’ his victims from behind by their neck or head and ‘rammed’ them to the floor.

He used ‘delusional terms’, as one woman was told: ‘If I met a girl like you, I would want to marry you. I want you to enjoy this.’ He said to another: ‘I’m not going to hurt you, we’re just going to make love if that’s OK?’

One victim persuaded him to remove his balaclava and not to rape her — as he said she ‘should be a social worker for talking him out of it’.

Blackwell, of Launceston, had already admitted 31 sex offences, including rape, attempted rape, indecent assault and false imprisonment. He must serve a minimum of nine years.