'X-Factor' Alum Sentenced to Life in Prison for 31 Sex Offenses Over 22 Years

Former X Factor contestant Phillip Blackwell has been convicted as a serial rapist, and will reportedly spend at least nine years in prison. According to a report by the BBC, Blackwell confessed to committing 31 sexual assaults over 22 years. The judge who passed Blackwell's sentenced described him as one of "the most dangerous individuals" he had ever encountered.

Blackwell pleaded guilty to charges of rape, attempted rape, indecent assault, assault by penetration, voyeurism and false imprisonment. He reportedly stalked and assaulted women in the towns of Birmingham, Coventry, Nuneaton, Launceston and Cornwall in England. Blackwell carried a "rape kit" with him on these attacks, with supplies such as tape, which he used to keep his victims' eyes closed. He also recorded many of these attacks on video so that he could watch them later.

Speaking at Blackwell's sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Peter Cook proclaimed that Blackwell had "no regard whatsoever for [women] as human beings." He went on to say that Blackwell left "ruined and blighted lives" in his wake, and told the rapist: "You must treat them with a level of contempt that is too shocking to even contemplate."

Some fans may recognize Blackwell from his time on The X Factor Season 5 in the United Kingdom. He made it far enough to appear in some televised episodes, and the following year in 2009, he traveled with the show's touring company of live performers. Prosecutor Adrian Langdale noted that the risk of this publicity exposing Blackwell's crimes was likely part of the thrill for him.

"He went on The X Factor national tour. It would appear to be a risk to do this but was happy to take," Langdale said. "He ran the risk of being identified, outweighed his desire for fame. His offending continued after his two minutes of fame."

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Blackwell attacked women well before and well after his stint on TV, carrying out his assaults meticulously. His "kit" included a balaclava, adhesive tape and a camcorder. In addition to disguising his face, Blackwell reportedly spoke to many of his victims in a "soft Irish accent" to further obscure his identity.

Blackwell continued these attacks up until 2019 when he was finally caught at the age of 55. One woman testified that she talked a "delusional" Blackwell out of raping her and that he even removed his mask, saying she "should be a social worker for taking him out of it." Blackwell will reportedly be in prison for at least nine years and will be on a sex offender registry for the rest of his life.