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Serial paedophile sex offender jailed for life after pleading guilty to over 30 sexual offences

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A man who committed sexual offences against nine females in three counties over a 22 year period has today (Monday 27 July) been jailed for life at Warwick Crown Court.

Phillip Blackwell, aged 56, previously of Western Road, Launceston, Cornwall had previously pleaded guilty to 13 counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, five counts of indecent assault, one count of false imprisonment, four counts of sexual assault, two counts of assault by penetration, four counts of voyeurism and one count of taking an indecent photograph of a child.

Blackwell was responsible for attacks on five females in Nuneaton and the south of Birmingham in the late 1990s.

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In each case, the young women were walking alone in the early hours of the morning when they were attacked from behind before being raped or subjected to other sexual offences.

Warwickshire Police launched Operation Fairway, working in collaboration with West Midlands Police and the National Crime Agency, to lead one of the biggest investigations ever carried out by the Warwickshire Force.

Despite the size of the investigation and DNA samples being taken from thousands of men in the area, Blackwell, who lived in Birmingham at the time, did not come to light as a suspect.

In 2003, Blackwell moved to Cornwall where he continued to offend.

It was when DNA was checked by officers from Devon and Cornwall Police as part of a 2019 investigation into a rape in Cornwall that he was linked to two of the attacks in the Midlands; one in Nuneaton and one in Birmingham.

He was arrested at his home in Launceston in January 2020 by officers from Devon and Cornwall Police.

Blackwell admitted to these attacks and three more in Birmingham.

Enquiries by Warwickshire Police led to offences against four females in Cornwall being identified.

Blackwell was sentenced to life in prison. He will serve a minimum of nine years before he can be considered for parole. He will also have to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Tedds from Warwickshire Police said: “Today is about Blackwell’s victims. Nothing can ever take away the pain they have suffered but I hope they can take some comfort from seeing him behind bars.

“They have shown great bravery throughout; their collective courage has ensured a very dangerous man is going to prison.

“As a detective constable working on the case for Warwickshire Police in the 1990s I saw first hand the terror Blackwell caused in the community. We were telling women not to go out alone; something you never want to have to do as a police officer.

“Despite not being solved at the time, the offences in the Nuneaton and Birmingham were regularly reviewed for new evidence.”

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