A convicted criminal carried out a nine-hour sex attack on a lone woman jogger while on release from jail, a court has heard.

Armed with a knife, muscle-bound Peter Watton allegedly pounced on the runner while she was jogging in woodland just two days after he came out of prison on licence, Chester Crown Court was told.

His alleged victim, aged 44, thought she was going to die as Watton, who is 6ft 3in, tattooed and described as musclebound, repeatedly raped the woman over several hours, jurors heard.

Prosecutors claim she eventually "ran for her life" in a successful bid to escape his clutches.

Watton denies eight counts of rape and four other offences on June 14 last year in Chester.

Watton, 37, from the Lache estate in the city, had only just been released after serving three years of a six-year jail term for kidnap and robbery, the jury was told.

"Ordinarily juries are warned against the stereotype of the rapist as an armed, musclebound stranger lying in wait for lone females, such offenders are thankfully rare," Owen Edwards, prosecuting, told the jury of nine women and three men.

"The prosecution say that Peter Watton is undoubtedly such an offender having committed this cowardly attack; he doesn't have the guts to admit it.

"He subjected her to the most degrading of sexual attacks."

Mr Edwards told the jury the victim, described as "attractive and slim" had a spat with her boyfriend and

decided to go out for a run around 3pm on June 14 along a path, shaded by trees and bounded by woodland, when she came across Watton, wearing a hoody and pushing a bike.

Seconds after passing him he pushed her into the undergrowth where he told her he was armed and threatened to hurt her if she did not comply.

She was raped repeatedly, tied up and treated as a "sexual plaything" the jury heard.

An hour later Watton ordered her to move and she tried to escape but he grabbed her again, saying: "You've been stupid...you've spoilt it."

She was taken to a second location, a "hidey hole" behind a barbed wire fence, where, scared, cold and partially naked, she was raped again.

He kept her there for hours, it is alleged, talking about himself and trying to get her to feel sorry for him.

"He wanted comfort, he wanted her to put her head on his chest, kiss him and reassure him," the prosecutor said.

Watton then told her they were going to go to the River Dee nearby.

"He was still promising to let her go, but by now she was very scared that he was going to kill her," Mr Edwards said.

But as Watton raped her again, with his trousers around his ankles, she made a break and "ran for her life" towards a house with lights on in the distance, where police were called just after midnight.

After giving a description of her tattooed attacker officers immediately went to to the house Watton shared with his mother on Henley Road in Lache but he had vanished and a nationwide manhunt was launched.

He spent six days on the run, sleeping rough under an isolated railway bridge - until he was spotted by Noel Perry, an off-duty Special Constable.

"Despite the defendant's best efforts to hide himself, he is six feet three inches tall, muscle-bound, tattooed and somewhat distinctive," Mr Edwards added.

Under arrest Watton claimed his victim, a complete stranger to him, consented to sex, but this was a "preposterous tale of a brief passionate encounter," the prosecutor said.

In fact the jury heard in 1999 the defendant had attempted to violently abduct "another slight brunette" in her car while posing as a policeman - but she fought him off.

Watton denies eight counts of rape, including oral, vaginal and anal rape, two counts of assault by penetration, one count of having a kitchen knife in public and one count of false imprisonment.

The trial, expected to last six days, was adjourned until tomorrow morning.