'Cold and dangerous' predator jailed for life after police use facial recognition to catch him

Ellen Manning
·2-min read
Craig Walters
Craig Walters was identified and arrested after police used facial recognition software and CCTV. (South Wales Police)

A "cold and dangerous" man who followed a woman off a bus and attacked her has been jailed after police used facial recognition to identify and catch him.

Craig Walters, 39, followed the young woman off a bus in Cardiff then attacked her, before being interrupted by a member of the public.

South Wales Police said they gathered CCTV from the area, including from the bus, and used facial recognition software to identify the suspect as Walters, who also goes by Craig Watts and Craig Whites and was known to police.

He was arrested within 48 hours of the attack and pleaded guilty to false imprisonment with intent to commit a sexual offence.

He has now been jailed for life at Cardiff Crown Court and ordered to serve a minimum of six years in prison. He will also have to register as a sex offender for life.

A general view Cardiff Crown Court.
Walters was jailed for life at Cardiff Crown Court. (PA)

Detective Constable Dave Simmons, from Cardiff CID, said: “At around 10.50pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019 a young woman was followed off a bus on Pontprennau. As she walked alongside a grass verge in Pentwyn Road, she was grabbed from behind by a complete stranger

“She bravely tried to fight him off and screamed for help until thankfully a member of the public intervened and the suspect ran off. It must have been absolutely terrifying.

Read more: Gang of five jailed for life for brutal murder of 26-year-old after drug-fuelled party

“We gathered extensive CCTV from the area, including footage from the Cardiff Bus she has been travelling on, and this gave us an image of the suspect who had been on the same bus.

“Using Retrospective Facial Recognition on this CCTV image we identified the suspect as Craig Walters – someone who was known to police.

“I am in no doubt that we would have got to him eventually, but the use of retrospective facial recognition technology meant we got to him quicker and within 48 hours he was in custody.”

Simmons said the victim had shown huge bravery throughout the case and also thanked the witness who intervened on the night of the attack.

He added: “Walters however is cold and dangerous individual who as shown no remorse and I believe he only pleaded guilty because of the strength of the evidence.

“I hope the successful outcome of this investigation will give other victims the confidence to come forward.

“As detectives we use all available technology to bring offenders to justice, and help and support is available to all victims.”

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK News