Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Rapist who went on Cumbrian crime spree jailed

A rapist who carried out a one-man crimewave while out on licence from prison has been jailed for five years.

David Johnson photo
David Johnson

David Johnson, 34, stole vehicles, led police on a chase along the M6, drove along the wrong side of the motorway and assaulted a hotel porter before being arrested, a court heard.

Johnson – described as “a dangerous man” – was out on licence from a nine-year sentence for a rape in Cumbria when he sparked the crime spree last October.

Carlisle Crown Court was told he initially stole a car he was test driving near Glasgow.

This BMW was later seen pulling into Southwaite Services, near Carlisle, in the early hours. There, Johnson made off without paying for petrol.

Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, said police soon saw the car heading south on the M6 and a pursuit was launched, with the car pulling over at one point.

But as soon as an officer got out of his car the BMW made off again, later undertaking a wagon and driving along the hard shoulder.

It left the motorway, he said, at Tebay, before heading north on the southbound carriageway, coming face to face with a lorry that had to take action “to avoid a head-on collision”.

Police stopped the chase because it was too dangerous and the BMW was found abandoned on the hard shoulder.

The court heard at 3.45am a night porter at the Westmorland Hotel, near Tebay, saw Johnson in the reception area. He had ditched his clothes and was clad in a dressing gown.

Mr Rogerson said Johnson punched the porter, ripped his shirt and threatened to stab him before he managed to get away.

Johnson stole the porter’s car keys and took the car itself, making off. The porter described it as “a terrifying experience”.

Johnson, of Rossett Street, Liverpool, crashed the vehicle into a verge and made off on foot, before being arrested.

Mr Rogerson added: “In interview, he was foul-mouthed and insulting.”

Johnson admitted:

  • Making off without paying for £25-worth of petrol from Southwaite Services on the M6;
  • Driving a BMW dangerously on the M6 between junctions 39 and 40 (Shap to Penrith);
  • Driving while disqualified and without insurance;
  • Burgling the Westmorland Hotel near Tebay and stealing keys;
  • Assaulting the porter by beating him at the hotel;
  • Taking his vehicle without his consent;
  • Driving the Suzuki on the B6261 at Shap while disqualified and without insurance.

The court was told Johnson had 25 previous convictions, the most serious being for a rape in Windermere, carried out with another man after they travelled there from Liverpool in 2005.

Kim Whittlestone, mitigaring, said Johnson was on anti-psychotic medication until before his release but had felt better and stopped taking it.

He felt his mental state deteriorating while in a hostel in Liverpool and was referred to a crisis team – but had a panic attack while waiting and left.

“He says he has very little recollection of events from there,” she added. He ended up in Glasgow and “just wanted to get back to Liverpool”.


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