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Appeal decision in rape case

PUBLISHED: 16:24 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:15 08 July 2010

A rapist who subjected a young woman to a “truly horrific” ordeal after kidnapping her from a car park could be free within five years following an appeal court ruling last week.

A rapist who subjected a young woman to a “truly horrific” ordeal after kidnapping her from a car park could be free within five years following an appeal court ruling last week.

Robert English, of Fiddlewood Green, Norwich, repeatedly raped his 21-year-old victim at his caravan in Hockwold last June. The woman had come to the aid of the

59-year-old as he pretended to struggle with heavy bags in the car park of the Tesco supermarket in Brandon. As she helped him, he bundled her into his car.

A judge at Ipswich Crown Court originally sentenced English to life imprisonment, ordering that he must serve a minimum of seven-and-a-half years after admitting kidnap, false imprisonment, two rapes and two sex assaults.

But three senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal ruled that the sentence was wrong and ordered that English be allowed to apply for parole after serving five years and four months. As he had already served 81 days behind bars when he was sentenced in October, the decision means he will be free to apply for his release in less than five years.

The victim suffered from flashbacks and panic attacks, was on medication and was afraid to be alone or to sleep in the dark.

Judge Neil McKittrick, at the Ipswich hearing, ordered that the defendant be placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely and should only be released once a parole board was satisfied that he no longer posed a risk to the public.

English had produced a knife and forced the victim into the back of his vehicle. He bound her feet, hands and neck with rope and threatening to cut her if she did not stop struggling.

He then covered her before driving her to his secluded caravan where he pointed out the depression in the earth which was to be her “grave” if she did not submit. She was then subjected to sex assaults and rapes. He eventually released her after driving her hooded back to Brandon and let her go.

Reports compiled prior to his sentencing revealed English to be remorseful, but but unable to understand what had motivated his offending.

And he would continue to be a danger to the public until he could come to terms with why he acted but was of previous good character.

Lord Justice Dyson said: “Grave though these offences were, in our view, this was not a case for the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment.”

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