Peterborough teenager has rape sentence cut on appeal

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A “very immature” Peterborough teenager, who raped a girl whilst she was asleep, has had his sentence cut on appeal by top judges

Liam Whitwell, now 18, was aged 16 when he attacked his the victim - who cannot be identified for legals reasons.

Whitwell, of Glenfields, Whittlesey, was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars at Peterbrough Crown Court in August last year.

He was convicted of rape the previous month.

Today Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Hickinbottom and Mr Justice Turner, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, cut his punishment to two and a half years.

Mr Justice Turner condemned his crime, saying: “He well knew that, in having sex with the victim, he was doing wrong”.

He had later sent her “nasty and harassing texts”, the judge added.

However, Whitwell’s lawyers argued the sentence was too long for one so young and that not enough account had been taken of his mitigation.

“In our view there is considerable force in these submissions,” the appeal judge said.

“He was just 16 and the judge found him to be very immature. All rapes are serious offences, but we agree that this was at the lower end of gravity.

“He had previous good character and presented a series of commendations in relation to his work and personal life.

“It is clear that he was generally a caring individual with many commendable attributes.

“The judge had a difficult sentencing exercise in relation to this young man.

“Without diminishing in any way the seriousness of the offence to this young woman, we have decided that a three-and-a-half year sentence was manifestly excessive.

“We replace it with a sentence of two and a half years,” the judge concluded.

The court’s decision today means that Whitwell should now be freed in January next year, having served half his term.

His application for permission to appeal against the rape conviction was refused.