Man jailed for attempted murder and kidnap - Windsor

10/02/2017

A man appeared at Reading Crown Court yesterday, Thursday, 09 February 2017, and was jailed for 16 years for the attempted murder of a man in Windsor last May.

John Watson, aged 35, of Pirbright Army Training Centre, Woking, Surrey, was sentenced yesterday, to a determinate period of 16 years' imprisonment with a further three years to be served on licence, after being found guilty on 19 January 2017, at the same court, of attempted murder following a two week retrial.

At approximately 7.30am on 4 May 2016, the victim, a 28-year-old man, was walking to his car which was parked in a car park in Camm Avenue, Windsor. On approaching his vehicle, the victim heard someone call his name and saw Watson walking towards him armed with a knife. A struggle ensued, which resulted in the victim having his feet and hands cable tied together and being pushed into the back of Watson's vehicle where the back seats were down and covered with sheets.

The vehicle was driven a short distance before coming to a stop in Keeler Close, Windsor, where Watson tried to wrap the victim's head in cling film. A further struggle occurred before police arrived and arrested Watson.

As a result of both altercations, the victim sustained a number of injuries, the most significant being a stab wound to his right flank, a stab wound to his left elbow and damage to a tendon in his right middle finger, which required surgery.

Watson was found guilty of one count of kidnap, in connection with the incident, at a previous trial, which concluded on 24 October 2016, at Reading Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an offensive weapon, in relation to a jab saw, on the first day of the previous trial, which started on 10 October 2016.

Liz Scriven, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "During this incident, the victim fought for his life.  As the police arrived, the victim was on the floor with Watson on top of him, still attacking him.  The victim was taken to Wexham Park Hospital with injuries including a bite to his head, stab wounds, lacerations and abrasions and underwent surgery on defensive wounds to his hands.

"The investigation revealed that Watson had carried out considerable planning before the incident.  He had undertaken internet searches into the sentence for murder and had drawn up notes on his iPhone of what to do before and after the attack.  The notes included a murder checklist of which items to take with him that morning, and how to dispose of those items.  It also detailed who he should message and when in order to make it look like the victim had chosen to leave the area, so no-one would go looking for him.  Watson also set himself reminders to arrange an alibi for what would have been a murder he had committed.  The knife Watson carried was purchased a hardware shop in Windsor just six days before the incident.

"The motive for the attack is believed to be jealousy and Watson's angry response to learning that the victim, his friend, was in a relationship with his estranged wife.  He is undoubtedly an extremely calculated, ruthless, and violent man.

"Watson answered 'no comment' to questions during his police interview and denied attempted murder, but was connected to the incident by ANPR, CCTV, and mobile phone evidence. During the trial, when faced with the strength of the evidence gathered against him, Watson admitted that he had planned to kill the victim in the days leading up to the offence, but said that he had changed his mind in the hours before his attendance at the address.  The jury found him guilty of attempted murder, rejecting his claims of having an attack of conscience.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. The CPS and police are committed to protecting the public from violent criminals and will continue to vigorously prosecute all such offenders.  Yesterday's sentence should act as a deterrent to others that violence will simply not be tolerated in our communities.

"We know that nothing can undo what happened to the victim, but we hope that the conviction and yesterday's sentence bring him and his family at least a small sense that justice has been done. We also hope that the victim, who has shown great courage throughout this process, continues with his recovery. Our thoughts are very much with him at this time."

Investigating officer Detective Constable Lyndsey Shaw, from Maidenhead Force CID, said: "The sentence passed reflects the severity of the offences inflicted upon the victim during what was a frightening ordeal for him. Fortunately, he did not suffer any long lasting injury and physically he has been able to move on from the events of 4 May last year.

"Emotionally, this incident has had a lasting impact upon the victim and I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to him for his continued support throughout the investigation. I would also like to pass on my thanks to the members of the public who assisted police during the incident.

"Watson committed a cold and calculated offence - the examination of his phone showed that he had been planning the offence in the days leading up to the incident. This included a checklist of the items he needed in order to commit the offence and several notes he had planned to send to family and friends to explain the disappearance of the victim."