Life sentence for convicted rapist who attempted to murder Norfolk woman

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 who falsely told his partner he was an airline pilot left her to die in a field having stabbed her multiple times after she said she wanted to leave him.

Claire Wright, who is in her 20s, was seen being dragged "kicking and screaming" and in distress in the Yarmouth Road area of Kirby Cane before being driven away.    

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, near Ipswich, after officers from Suffolk Police were called. 

Norwich Crown Court heard it came after she had attempted to bring to an end to her relationship with convicted rapist Christopher Crichton, 33, who had falsely told Ms Wright he was an airline pilot. 

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said Crichton, who had a “a significant record of violence towards women” had lied to Ms Wright 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”. 

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In the early morning of April 26 this year Ms Wright 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 began 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. 

Crichton took her downstairs where she feigned collapse before the defendant told her he was not a pilot and that he had been released from prison having murdered his last girlfriend. 

Ms Wright was terrified but again tried to calm him down before later running out 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."

Ms Wright asked Crichton to take her to hospital but he drove towards Ipswich. By the time they stopped at a country lane in Levington, Suffolk, she had been in the car for more than two hours.

Crichton dragged her into a field and told her she was “bleeding out” before driving to Copdock Retail Park in Ipswich where he was arrested. 

Ms Wright 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."

Ms Wright did not want her victim impact statement read out in court but Mr Jackson said she had suffered “serious physical and psychological harm”.  

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. 

Mr Thompson said he feels terrible for what he had done and hopes Ms Wright makes a full recovery.   

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