May 25, 2012
A former Army captain felt he was “untouchable” after police failed to prosecute him for two rapes and one sexual assault, leaving him free to go on and rape his fourth victim, a court heard yesterday.
Brian Witty, 41, was jailed indefinitely as a judge described him as a "demanding, frightening and determined rapist" who posed a very real danger to women.
The father of two was arrested and questioned after all three initial attacks but managed to escape charge for 16 years.
Judge Nicholas Price QC said that had he been successfully prosecuted at an earlier stage, Witty “may well have not have been free to commit these later serious offences.”
"Justice has been for too long delayed,” he said.
Lisa Longstaff, of Women Against Rape, condemned the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to charge Witty until his fourth victim came forward.
"The fourth investigation was far better than the previous ones, witnesses who had been neglected were interviewed and evidence gathered," she said.
"This is what should happen every time rape is reported. It is a salutary lesson. People slapping themselves on the back now really need to look at the way things are done for the future."
Kingston Crown Court heard that Witty had attacked his first victim, a 24-year-old nanny, after meeting her in a pub in 1995.
When she rejected his advances, he jumped out of bed and said: “I don’t believe this, I’m a good looking bloke” before declaring that “no means yes” and raping her at his flat in South West London.
The woman reported the incident to police and Witty was questioned but claimed that the woman consented.
In 2006, he sexually assaulted a 25-year-old recruitment consultant in an alleyway in Covent Garden, London, after meeting her on a dating website, jurors heard.
Before the date, he emailed her to say it was her “lucky day” and promised her “all day laughter”. She too, reported the attack to the police but Witty was not charged.
Two years later, Witty met his third victim in a City bar, where he saw her “suggestively” eating chicken.
He raped her two days later at his riverside flat and again, Witty denied the allegations and escaped charge.
A thorough investigation was only launched when Witty, who served in the Parachute Regiment and later became a City financier, raped his fourth victim, a 42-year-old whom he met last year through datingdirect.com and arranged to meet at a pub in Teddington.
He was arrested after the woman fled from his flat “shaking and crying”. Police subsequently reinterviewed all three previous victims.
Judge Nicholas Price QC praised the four victims’ courage in coming forward to give evidence, nothing that the fact that no action had initially been taken “led inevitably to feelings of loss of self-worth and despair that they had not been believed”.
Sentencing Witty, who is originally from Hull, to a minimum of eight years imprisonment, he said it was clear he set out to prey on vulnerable women.
“You hid your base intent behind a veneer of charm which lulled each of your victims into a false sense of security,” the judge said.
“Each of them was beguiled into believing that with your military background and apparent social attributes, you were a gentleman and would behave as one.
“Each of your victims described in chilling evidence how you changed from being plausible and caring into a bullying, self-obsessed, arrogant sexual predator who was determined to indulge in fulfilling your sexual desires, irrespective and dismissive of their pleas that you should desist.”
Det Insp Michael Murfin of the Metropolitan Police described Witty as a “predatory rapist” and urged anyone who believes they may have been raped or sexually assaulted by him to contact the police in confidence.
Witty will only be released when the parole board considers he no longer poses a risk.