Rapist jailed for 14 years

Philip Knowles
Philip Knowles

A man from St Helens has been jailed 14 after he was found guilty of raping two women.

Philip Knowles befriended both his victims when they were at vulnerable periods of their lives and went on to rape both women six times.

The 37-year-old, of no fixed address, was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.

He was sentenced on Wednesday at Liverpool Crown Court, where victim impact statements given by both women provided a harrowing account of Knowles’ depravity.

One of the women described how she felt “worthless and degraded” following the attack but managed to “find the strength from within to tell the police”.

She described still being “emotionally drained and a nervous wreck” 12 months since the assault but said the sentencing of Knowles was a “milestone”.

The other victim told the court Knowles’ attacks had left her unable to make friends and that she now lacked confidence and was nervous ariund new people.

However, she said she was delighted that her attacker had been found guilty.

She thanked the investigating officers, the Crown Prosecution Service and support services at the court for helping her through the ordeal.

Following the sentencing hearing, DC Justin Harrison, who investigated Knowles’ attack on the second women, said: “Philip David Knowles is a manipulative individual who has cynically formed relationships with both victims at vulnerable times in their lives.

“He subjected both women to a number of vicious and violent sexual assaults for his own sexual gratification then denied committing these crimes.

“I would like to praise the bravery and courage of both women for telling the police in the first instance and for the strength they showed in during the court process.

“Their support of the police investigation has led to a dangerous sexual predator being sent to jail for a very long time and to other women being protected from him.

“Merseyside Police will always listen to victims of sexual violence, whether it is recent or historic, and whatever the circumstances. We will treat all victims with sensitivity, compassion and as individuals with individual needs.

“There is a great deal of support and advice out there and we can put measures in place to help victims from the point they make a report to the police right through to the court hearing.

“I would urge anyone who has been sexually assaulted or raped to find it within themselves to tell someone what has happened to them so that they do not continue to suffer in silence.”