Shani Warren: Jury hears of defendant's previous sexual offences

Trial of Maidenhead trio accused of sex offences continues

Reading Crown Court

Jurors at Reading Crown Court were this week told more about a murder defendant’s previous string of sexual offences involving young female victims.

Donald Robertson, 66, formerly of Slough, is charged with the murder of Shani Warren – who was found tied and gagged in Taplow Lake in April 1987 – as well as her indecent assault and false imprisonment.

He is also charged with the kidnap and rape of a 16-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in 1981.

Robertson’s trial continued this week as prosecution barrister John Price QC informed jurors about his spate of sexual offences before and after Ms Warren’s death.

These dated back to February 1978, when he was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary and attempted rape, which had occurred in December 1977. He was released from custody in April 1981.

In October 1981, Robertson then admitted raping a 14-year-old girl, which had occurred in August that year. The court heard how Robertson – armed with a broken bottle – jumped out in front of the victim and forced her into a hedge, telling her: ‘get in there, or you will get this’.

Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison for that offence; and was released in October 1986.

Mr Price told the jury that his next offence occurred in June 1987 – shortly after Ms Warren’s death – when Robertson raped a 17-year-old girl in Slough.

The victim was walking along the A4 Bath Road when Robertson pulled over in his car and offered her £50 for sex, which she refused.

Robertson – who gave her the impression he was holding a weapon – persuaded the girl into his car.

The court heard how he took the teenager to a nearby parking area and raped her.

A victim statement read to the jury said: “I was very scared of him and just wanted it to be over with. I was frightened for my life.”

It was not until May 2010 when Robertson was arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and rape of the girl after police reopened the case. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2010.

Jurors also learned that Robertson was convicted of burglary with intent to commit rape and kidnap in Slough in December 1990.

Mr Price later told the court that when Robertson was interviewed by the police in relation to Ms Warren’s death, he was asked if he had ever been to Taplow Lake, to which he replied: ‘no, not fishing’.

When pressed if he had been there for other reasons, he declined to comment.

This week’s proceedings also learned more about the life of Ms Warren, described by doctors as a ‘normal, healthy’ 26-year-old woman.

The jury heard Ms Warren had relationship troubles with men, while she disliked her job as a secretary in Maidenhead and had also become ‘paranoid’ about catching AIDS.

Robertson denies all of the charges against him.

The trial continues.

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