A terrified runner was tied up and raped for hours on end by a convicted violent criminal on a Chester woodland footpath, a court heard.
Peter Watton had only been released from prison for two days when he allegedly waited on Duke’s Drive and dragged a woman into the bushes while she was out running with her dog.
During a violent abduction that lasted for nine hours, Watton raped the woman eight times, forcing her to have sex with him in the muddy grass while he threatened her with a kitchen knife, a jury at Chester Crown Court was told.
At the first day of his trial on Monday, the 37-year-old appeared before a jury of nine women and three men and pleaded not guilty to the false imprisonment, rape and assault of a stranger on the woodland walkway.
The jury heard how Watton, of Henley Road, Lache, had only been released from prison two days before the alleged attack - he had served half of a six year jail term for robbery and kidnap offences.
He previously attempted to abduct a terrified female in her car while posing as a policeman during a violent attack back in 1999, the jury was told.
At around 3pm on Friday, June 14 the 44-year-old woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was running with her dog away from LA Fitness along the path when she was shoved into woodland by a man.
Out of sight of passersby, the prosecution claimed Watton forced her to have sex with him in a series of degrading sexual attacks, telling her he had a knife and saying he had been watching her for two weeks, knew where she lived, and would ‘hurt [her] and [her] family’ if she told anyone.
He allegedly used shoe laces to tie her up.
“He told her he had a knife which he later produced,” said Owen Edwards, prosecuting.
“He put her in fear of her life. He subjected her to the most degrading of sexual attacks. He treated her as his sexual plaything.”
During the alleged abduction, which lasted nine hours, Mr Edwards said Watton took his victim to three different locations along the path, forcing her into hidey holes while he took drugs and threatened to end his life.
Scared for her life, the woman left items of clothing scattered at the scenes of the attacks hoping that someone would see the discarded bra, headphones and running top and follow the trail.
She finally ran for her life when, after hours of being forced to submit to sexual violence, she made a run for it towards houses in Berkley Drive, off Eaton Road in Handbridge, while her alleged attacker had his trousers around his ankles in the process of another rape, the court heard.
The jury was told police arrested heavily-tattooed Watton after a five day manhunt across Cheshire after the woman was able to identify a distinctive tattoo reading ‘Pete’ across her alleged attacker’s knuckles.
He had been sleeping under a railway bridge while on the run, the court was told.
Watton, who says he had consensual sex with the woman he had never met before after meeting her on the footpath, denies eight counts of rape, two counts of assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of possession of a bladed article.
The trial continues.