A MAN from Stratford who raped a prostitute twice as he held her captive in the back of a van after picking her up in a red light area has been jailed for 12 years.
And a judge at Warwick Crown Court praised both an elderly couple who had gone to the aid of Adrian Watts’s victim and the police for their compassionate handling of the case.
A jury had found the 49 year-old, of Hodgson Road, guilty of falsely imprisoning his victim, a Coventry prostitute, and two charges of raping her.
But he was cleared of further charges of assaulting her, and of attempting to rape a second prostitute, a former Leamington woman, five days later.
During the trial prosecutor Sarah Buckingham said the two women were both drugs addicts who felt compelled to sell their bodies to feed their habit.
She added: “They are both someone’s daughter; it wasn’t a career choice they made for themselves at school, but it was where life had led them.
“Vulnerable, easy targets, the perpetrators of such crimes bank that because of their chaotic lifestyles they will not complain, or not be believed if they do.”
“Make no mistake, men who rape prostitutes are committing serious sexual offences, they are often violent, controlling, dangerous men, with no respect for women generally, not just prostitutes. The prosecution say this defendant is one such man.”
The jury heard in the early hours of May 1 Watts, a fleet driver, had driven to Coventry in a van he was due to deliver, which he should not have been driving for personal use, and picked up a prostitute in Hillfields.
They agreed a price of £40 and she got in and directed him to a nearby industrial estate – but instead he locked the doors and drove out of the city.
When they got to a wood, which turned out to be just off the A46 near Stratford, Watts forced her into the back of the van.
His victim said: “He was strong, I just didn’t stand a chance. He said if I didn’t do what I was told he would kill me.
“I had to do all sorts of things I didn’t really want to do. I was just doing exactly what he told me.”
She said when Watts then got out of the van to go to the toilet she got dressed, jumped out and ran,
She hid as he drove past and then made her way to the A46 where she tried to flag down cars until an elderly Stratford couple, Michael and Valerie Horn, stopped to help her and called the police and an ambulance.
After the jury returned its verdicts Miss Buckingham said Watts had four previous convictions involving offences against women, including assaulting his then-wife in 2001, damaging a table by throwing it at her, stalking another woman and battery.
Graham Bennett, defending, said: “He recognises, by virtue of the jury’s decisions, that he faces a considerable period of imprisonment.”
Jailing Watts and ordering him to register as a sex offender for life, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him it was a well-planned and pre-meditated expedition to commit the offences.
“You used a vehicle which would not be easily associated with you and went from your home in Stratford to the red light district of Coventry where you selected an evidently vulnerable woman.
“Looking at her in court, let alone on a street corner at night, it was obvious she was extremely vulnerable.
“Your stature, her estrangement from anywhere she would be comfortable, and your threats were sufficient to subjugate an extremely vulnerable woman. She was petrified.”
After Watts had been led from the dock, Judge Griffith-Jones commended Mr and Mrs Horn for stopping to help
He said elderly people driving late at night could be forgiven for just driving on and doing their public duty by making a phone call to the police.
He added: “By stopping and going back they effectively rescued her. I believe they should both receive a commendation for their courage and public-spiritedness.”
And he also praised the Warwickshire Police officers in the case, Yvonne Rawson and Imran Ghouri, saying: “It seems to me to be very gratifying that vulnerable people, as many of these prostitutes are, are not disregarded by the police.