Royal Navy serviceman, 31, who raped five women jailed for 12 years

Royal Navy serviceman, 31, who raped five women jailed for 12 years

January 10, 2022

Royal Navy serviceman, 31, who raped five young women after meeting them on Tinder and messaged one asking, ‘When can I rape you again?’ is jailed for 12 years

  • Tom Rodwell, 31, admitted a series of serious sexual assaults including 10 rapes
  • Teesside Crown Court heard he targeted five young women he found on Tinder
  • Jailing Rodwell for life with minimum of 12 years, judge told him he was ‘addicted to a sense of power’ over the five women he attacked whose lives he had ‘ruined’ 

Jailed: Sexual predator Tom Rodwell was jailed for life at Teesside Crown Court today

A ‘callous and unfeeling sexual predator’ who subjected five young woman to a series of rape ordeals and was described as a danger to women has been jailed for life.

Royal Navy serviceman Tom Rodwell, 31, used Tinder to snare his victims, including three university students, in the pretence of looking for a relationship.

But he subjected each to shockingly violent sexual attacks, some while they slept, in what a judge termed a ‘campaign of rape’ and even messaged one victim asking ‘When can I rape you again?’

Jailing Rodwell for life with a minimum of 12 years, Judge Paul Watson QC said the defendant was ‘addicted to a sense of power’ he had over the women, whose lives he had ‘ruined’. 

The court was told that although he was not convicted, Rodwell had been accused of rape before in Scotland, but was acquitted in court. 

He told Rodwell: ‘You serially raped five young women in what can only be described in my judgement as a campaign of rape.

‘You are a callous and unfeeling sexual predator whose only concern was for your own gratification.

‘You placed no regard in the feelings and wishes of the women you raped, particularly if they stood in the way of you attending to your own desires.

‘Under the guise of pretending to seek relationships, you exploited them using psychological pressure and manipulation as well as brute physical force.

‘You sought to diminish their self confidence and self regard. Each in their own way was vulnerable and you knew this. That is why you targeted them.

‘You have left deep emotional scars which will take years to heal, if they ever do. You have in so many ways ruined their lives and I am full of admiration for them coming forward to let the police know what you did.’

Judge Watson said Rodwell was a ‘real and significant risk’ to any woman he encountered.

He added: ‘You are an unquestionably dangerous man.’

The young women, two of whom attended Durham University, met Rodwell, 31, on Tinder and were subjected to 11 degrading ordeals by a predator with a fascination for violent sex.

One of the young women said: ‘I thought he would kill me. If he hadn’t been arrested he would have gone on to murder somebody.’

Another victim described him as a ‘monster.’

Rodwell was jailed for life at Teesside Crown Court and must serve a minimum of 12 years in prison after he admitted 10 counts of rape, one of attempted rape and one of sexual assault

Rodwell, who bears facial tattoos, admitted 10 counts of rapes, one count of attempted rape and one sexual assault between 2017 and 2020 when he appeared before Teesside Crown Court today.

He raped his first victim four times in 2017, his second once in the same year, the third was raped in 2017 and 2019 and he raped the fourth in 2020.

He admitted rape, assault by penetration and attempted rape against his fifth victim.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told Teesside Crown Court: ‘The defendant, using social media, would contact a number of single young women and once in contact with them, he would physically and sexually abuse them.

‘In addition to the physical and sexual abuse, he would psychologically manipulate them and in some cases make them feel worthless. The effect on the victims is clear in their personal statements.

‘It is clear that the defendant was sexually aroused by carrying out physical violence on these victims. He would also be sexually aroused when carrying out non-consensual sexual activity.’

The first victim was a university student when she met Rodwell in 2017 via Tinder. 

She suffered from depression and anxiety and the defendant used this to his advantage and would taunt her about it. He was also violent towards her, slapping and hitting her, the court was told.

She described how sex was forceful and she would ask him to stop but he would choke and slap her.

Prosecutors said that in discussions between them, Rodwell said he was into ‘rough sex’.

He would strangle her with one hand and she found that he would do the opposite of what she asked, the court heard.

Mr Bennet said: ‘On one occasion the victim was in bed with the defendant and he made it clear he wanted sex.

‘She said she did not want to have sex with the defendant and he responded by saying that it was ‘not her decision’.

‘He then pushed her down on the bed and had sex with her.

‘She described that the defendant had raped her on a number of occasions and would come home from his job in the Navy, when he was stationed in Scotland. He would force her to have sex against her will.’

The second victim was also a University student when she met Rodwell via the Tinder app during 2017.

The court heard Rodwell targeted his victims on the Tinder dating app posing as someone looking for a relationship but soon turned to psychological manipulation and physical violence

On their first meeting Rodwell threw her contraceptive pills in the bin.

On the second occasion they met at a flat, they ordered some food and Rodwell initiated sex which she agreed to until he became forceful and started hitting her.

He told her there was ‘nothing she could do as he was stronger than her’ and continued to have sex with her in an ordeal which lasted up to 30 minutes, Mr Bennett said.

Later Rodwell sent her a Whatsapp message asking: ‘When can I rape you again?’

In a personal statement the woman said: ‘He has left me feeling vulnerable and ashamed and wondering whether I should have seen red flags in his behaviour.’

The third victim was also a student when she met Rodwell on Tinder.

Mr Bennett said: ‘The defendant repeatedly ignored her request to use a condom and had sex without one.

‘The defendant would drink before sexual intercourse. He was sexually rough and during and after sex she told him that he was hurting her.

‘Rather than moderate his behaviour he became even rougher and on occasions he left her with bruises.’

Rodwell would rape his victim while she was asleep and became more and more violent as time went on until he began punching her on the back of her head during the sexual act, the court was told.

Mr Bennett said: ‘He would hit her harder and harder, and sometimes four or five times a night. He would later say to her that she had deserved it because she was a ”slut’.’

The woman addressed the court in person to describe her ordeal.

She said: ‘I used to think about how to kill myself to escape the abuse. I thought Tom would kill me and if he had not been arrested when he was I think he would have gone on to murder somebody.’

The fourth victim went on a date to a music event with Rodwell and woke up in a hotel to find him pulling her hair and forcing her into a sexual act.

His fifth victim also met Rodwell via Tinder and suffered a similar ordeal, beginning in 2019.

Mr Bennett said: ‘He told her from the outset, in messages to her, that he wanted to ‘own her’ and ‘choke her’.

‘He made it clear that he did not want her to speak to anyone else and told her to delete her Tinder app. On the first occasion they met, he essentially invited himself to her home.

‘She described a number of occasions when the defendant sexually assaulted or raped her.’

The court heard that he then took up with another woman and told his fifth victim she would have to be ‘fully submissive in all ways’ if she wanted him back.

She had had an emergency coil fitted and kept it for the remainder of the relationship so he would not have to use a condom, on his orders.

The woman read out a statement in court.

She said: ‘I was a prisoner in my own home with a monster. My feelings were never considered, he took everything I had to give.

‘I have to live in the house where I was physically, emotionally and sexually abused and I am reminded of this daily.’

Rodwell pleaded not guilty to a single further rape of the fifth victim and three offences of controlling and coercive behaviour, which were allowed to lie on file.

Andrew Turton, mitigating, said Rodwell claims to have had more than 100 sexual partners.

He said: ‘His actions with five of them bring him before the courts today. He is a man of previous good character.’

Restraining orders were put in place to prevent him contacting any of the women.

After the sentencing, Detective Constable Rick Sainsbury paid tribute to the women who have now seen him jailed for life.

He said: ‘Rodwell’s offending is despicable.

‘He is a dangerous individual and his selfish and depraved actions have caused lasting harm to his victims and their families.’

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