Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 18:41 UK

Rapist has sentence cut on appeal

Robert English
Robert English abducted a 21-year-old woman from a car park

A man who raped a woman he kidnapped from a supermarket car park has had his sentence cut at the Court of Appeal.

Robert English, 58, of Fiddlewood Road in Norwich, pleaded guilty in October 2008 to six charges relating to the attack in June in Brandon, Suffolk.

English kidnapped, raped and sexually assaulted the 21-year-old woman.

The Court of Appeal ruled his life sentence, with a minimum of seven-and-a-half years, was inappropriate and reduced it to five years, four months.

Sentencing him in October at Norwich Crown Court, Judge Neil McKittrick said he considered the offences so serious that only a sentence of life imprisonment was appropriate.

But Lord Justice Dyson, Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Sweeney ruled the offences did not warrant a life sentence.

'Horrific experience'

Lord Justice Dyson said: "We acknowledge this was a truly horrific experience for a 21-year-old victim who will almost certainly be haunted by the memory for the rest of her life, but we do not think that they justify a life sentence."

He continued: "This was a very bad case indeed, with a number of serious aggravating features."

The judge said the fact he had threatened to kill the victim and pointed to a spot on the ground he claimed would be her grave if she did not comply were factors to be taken into account.

But he added: "That said, he did not, in fact, use the knife, nor did he use violence on the victim, over and above the sexual acts themselves."

English had pleaded guilty to kidnap, false imprisonment, sexual assault, assault by penetration and two counts of rape.

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