A child rapist who held a family hostage at knifepoint during a terrifying incident earlier this year has been jailed for 23 years.
David Alan Watts, 40, from Ramsbury, appeared at Bristol Crown Court today (22/12) for sentencing.
He had previously stood trial and been found guilty of five offences, namely false imprisonment, three counts of raping a child under the age of 13 and sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.
Today he was jailed for 23 years, with five years extended licence.
Police were called to an address in Ramsbury in the early hours of 13 June by a young girl who said Watts, who was known to his victims, was armed with a knife and was behaving in an aggressive and threatening manner.
While she was speaking to a call handler, Watts, who had locked all the doors and the windows, snatched the phone away from her.
When officers arrived they found the girl standing in the window holding a handwritten note that said “break in, he is trying to stab us”.
They quickly gained entry and ran upstairs, forcing the door to one of the bedrooms and found three young girls sitting on a bed crying, while Watts was holding a knife to the throat of a woman who was holding a toddler.
PC Chris Miller discharged a Taser against Watts and then he, and assisting officers, physically restrained Watts, using a Pava spray to bring the situation under control.
During the incident, PC Miller suffered a broken bone in his hand and sustained knife wounds to his hand, while another officer was bitten.
During the trial the Judge commended PC Miller and Special Constable Dave Turner for their bravery during the response to this incident and said he would be recommending them for recognition.
At sentencing, he commended everyone involved with the investigation for their hard work.
Detective Constable Leannda Benfield, from Wiltshire Police’s Public Protection Department (PPD), said today’s sentencing marked the end of a difficult six months for Watts’ victims.
She said: “Firstly I want to pay tribute to the victims in this case who have been so brave in speaking to us about what happened to them so we were able to bring Watts to justice and see him put behind bars for a very long time.
“Not only was the night itself an incredibly frightening and traumatic incident, but there had also been previous occasions of sexual abuse.
“Throughout this process we have worked hard to provide all the necessary support to make sure their welfare has been our priority.
She added: “We would always urge anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, no matter when the offences occurred, to come forward and speak to police. We have specially-trained teams to investigate these types of crimes and we will deal with your report sensitively.”
Detective Superintendent Ben Mant, head of PPD, praised the teams who had worked on this investigation.
He said: “This is an incident and investigation which has involved so many different police officers, police staff and volunteers.
“On the night in question the responding officers, which included a Special Constable, had to deal with a volatile and violent man. They had no thought for their own safety when they entered that property and acted entirely in the interests of safeguarding Watts’ victims who were trapped inside.
“They had just seconds to make decisions, including how to apprehend Watts when he was holding a knife to the throat of a woman carrying a small child.
“Then, what followed was a detailed and sensitive investigation by specialist detectives, ensuring they had all the evidence needed to gain justice for the victims.
“It is clear that Watts has no remorse for his actions, refusing to engage with the judicial process and forcing his victims to endure a trial. But I hope they will have some comfort in the fact that he will now be in jail for a long time.”
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