Soldier threatened with knife and kidnapped by love rival, court told


A soldier has described in court the moment he was threatened with a knife before being kidnapped by his love rival, a fellow serviceman.

James Dicks, a father-of-two, said he screamed for help as he grappled with former friend and colleague John Watson in a cul-de-sac in Windsor, Berkshire, but an elderly bystander said he could not intervene because the defendant "had a knife".

Reading Crown Court heard Watson had been lying in wait for Mr Dicks to emerge from the home of Watson's estranged wife, Lynsey, with whom Mr Dicks had been in a relationship following the breakdown of their respective marriages.

Mr Dicks, 28, said he was "terrified" when he was overpowered and bundled into the back of a car with his hands and wrists bound with cable ties before being driven to a secluded parking spot.

The court heard he had cling film wrapped around his face but managed to break free and fight back, suffering stab and slash wounds before he was saved by police.

Watson, of Pirbright Camp in Woking, Surrey, is on trial charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and having a kitchen knife in a public place, all on May 4 this year.

Giving evidence from the witness box, Mr Dicks said he spotted Watson as he left the home of his new partner shortly after 7am to head to work.

He said: "I heard my name being called - it was John.

"He was briskly walking towards me ... he was brandishing a knife."

Mr Dicks said he refused Watson's initial demands to put his hands through cable ties - looped to be worn as makeshift handcuffs, the court heard - and the pair grappled after Watson accused Mr Dicks of sleeping with his estranged wife, a relationship which was already in the open.

He told jurors he was "terrified" as Watson "thrust" the blade, which he said was around 7in (18cm) long, and shouted for help.

He said: "John told the elderly gentleman (who arrived at the scene) that I had attacked him.

"I asked for help from the gentleman and then he replied to me: 'I can't because he's got a knife'.

"The next thing I know, John pulls out a second pair of cable ties and advises me to put them on otherwise he is going to slash my throat. I put them on."


Mr Dicks told the court he would only get into the car if Watson discarded the knife - something the defendant agreed to do, before producing a second blade, he said.

Mr Dicks said Watson, 35, used a series of cable ties in a "chain" to immobilise the victim and secure him within the car, a Vauxhall saloon in which the back seats were folded down and covered with a sheet.

Watson drove for "less than a minute", in an "erratic" fashion, forcing Mr Dicks' prone body to shift around inside the vehicle before stopping nearby where he produced a roll of cling film, the court heard.

Mr Dicks said: "When I saw the cling film, I started to panic. I knew I had to do something about it. I had to get out of the car - I was obviously fearing for my life.

"I noticed when he was attempting to peel back cling film he wasn't paying attention (to me) so I leaned back and kicked him.

"It connected. He fell backwards and in turn the cable ties from my feet snapped so my feet could move."

Mr Dicks said his ankles remained tied together, but free from the head rest meaning he was able to get out of the car.

He said: "I was trying to pull on the cable ties to see if they would give way. I did not succeed.

"He (Watson) came behind me with the roll of cling film. He tried to wrap my head in the cling film. It touched the left side of my face, my nose and my mouth.

"It was tight - when I breathed in, the cling film went inside my mouth.

"I knew I had to stop it because he was going to kill me otherwise.

"I took one last breath then pulled my hands from the cable ties and they managed to break."

Mr Dicks described how the pair wrestled on the floor, with Watson again producing a knife and forcing it against his victim's chest.

He told the court: "I held them (my hands) where the blade was to stop it penetrating my chest."

Asked by prosecution counsel Daniel Fugallo if he was aware it was causing injury to his hands, Mr Dicks replied: "I didn't care."

Mr Dicks said two police officers armed with Taser guns arrived on the scene and prompted Watson to let go of the knife, the court heard.

The pair were handcuffed and Mr Dicks was subsequently taken to hospital for surgery on his right hand, he said.

The court heard Mr Dicks and Watson became friends when they were both stationed at Combermere Barracks, near Windsor, last year.

Each was married at the time, living in Army accommodation, but by the end of 2015 their respective marriages had broken down.

Watson was transferred to Pirbright and by the start of 2016, Mr Dicks and Mrs Watson began seeing each other - a tryst they tried to keep secret and angered their former partners when it became public, the court heard.

But Watson's resentment took on a "dark and more menacing tone", Mr Fugallo told the court.

Threatening WhatsApp messages to Mr Dicks, a soldier with the Household Cavalry, were found on his phone after his arrest, with one reading: "If I am going to do something you will only know when it has happened."