Life sentence for man who stabbed and left woman in field near Ipswich

Christopher Crichton who has been jailed for 15 years after admitting attempted murder and kidnap.

Christopher Crichton who has been given a discretionary life sentence after admitting attempted murder and kidnap. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A man has been sentenced to life for the attempted murder and kidnap of a woman found with stab wounds in Nacton. 

Christopher Crichton will serve a minimum of 15 years of a life imprisonment for the attack on a woman in her 20s in April this year. 

On April 26, the woman was seen in distress in the Yarmouth Road area of Kirby Kane and being dragged away from the address. 

A police car parked outside a house while an officer stands on duty.

A police car outside a property on Yarmouth Road, Kirby Cane after the attempted murder and kidnap of Claire Wright. - Credit: Reece Hanson

She was found nearly three hours later, some 50 miles away, with serious stab wounds in a country lane on the outskirts of Nacton. 

Officers arrested Crichton at Copdock Retail Park and charged him for attempted murder and kidnap. 

On Friday, Norwich Crown Court heard Crichon had falsely told the woman, his partner, he was an airline pilot.

The woman attempted to bring an end to her relationship with the 33-year-old, from Westcliff-on-Sea, who is also a convicted rapist. 

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Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Crichton, who had “a significant record of violence towards women” had lied to her when he formed a relationship with her in the early part of 2020.

Mr Jackson described Crichton as a “practiced and accomplished conman”.

Ms Wright began to suspect what Crichton was telling her was untrue and found it odd “there was no evidence to support that which she was being told”. 

In the early morning of April 26 this year, the victim told Crichton the relationship was over. 

Police attend the scene of an attempted murder on Levington Road towards Nacton. A cordon remains i

Police attend the scene of an attempted murder on Levington Road towards Nacton. A cordon remains in place at the scene. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Jackson said Crichton had begun to pack his things but later called her upstairs saying he wanted help. 

The defendant told her “she had hurt him but now I’m going to hurt you”. 

Mr Jackson said he pushed her on the bed before he "punched her repeatedly to the face". 

He forced her to look at her facial injuries but she tried to calm him down. 

She tried to calm him down and ran onto the driveway to try and flag down passing motorists. 

Police attend the scene of an attempted murder on Levington Road towards Nacton. A cordon remains i

The scene at Levington Road, Suffolk where Claire Wright was taken to by Christopher Crichton. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Crichton came out of the house armed with a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the left leg, the court heard.

She was stabbed several times and “became aware that the knife had become stuck in her back”. 

Crichton pulled out the knife and left it on the drive before dragging her into the car and driving off. 

Mr Jackson said: “It’s the prosecution’s case that in stabbing her repeatedly he intended to kill her."

The victim asked to be taken to hospital, but was instead driven to a country lane in Levington, Suffolk.

She had been in the car for more than two hours before being dragged into a field by Crichton. 

The victim was found by a passing cyclist who came to her aid and called the emergency services.  

Mr Jackson said: “Having stabbed her causing her life threatening injuries, he kept her a prisoner in his car and left her in an isolated place to die."

Crichton, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, appeared at court for sentence on Friday (October 15) having previously admitted attempted murder and kidnap. 

Judge Anthony Bate imposed a discretionary life sentence, with Crichton having to serve a minimum term of 15 years in prison.

He said the defendant had a “shocking record of violent and sexual offending against previous women partners”. 

Judge Bate said the victim’s “trust in you was utterly betrayed” adding he had “deceived her from the outset of your relationship”. 

Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said Crichton told police immediately what he had done with a long-standing intention to plead guilty in the case. 

He said Crichton has a “complex mental health history” and has made at least two attempts on his life, in April and May this year, with a third serious self-harm incident subsequently taking place. 

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Tom Smith, of Norfolk Constabulary, said: “Crichton is an incredibly dangerous individual and today’s sentencing will ensure he can’t be a threat to anyone else.

“I want to thank the victim in this case for the outstanding strength and resilience she has shown throughout this investigation.

"She has been incredibly brave and, along with the strong support of her family, I hope today’s result will help her move forward from what has been an incredibly traumatic ordeal.”

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