Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Charities angry at rape sentences

Rogel McMorris, Jason Brew and Hector Muaimba were convicted of rape

Disabled charities have condemned the sentences of three men who raped a girl and left her permanently disfigured by throwing caustic soda over her.

The 16-year-old girl, who has a mental age of eight, was badly disfigured in the attack at a flat in Seven Sisters, north London, in January 2008.

The three men, who laughed as they filmed the rape, were sentenced to jail terms of six years and nine years.

Campaigners said the sentences sent out "the wrong message".

The girl was in a coma following the attack and has been left with burns to more than 50% of her body.

Richard Curen, chief executive of Respond, said: "This was a horrific and cowardly attack that scarred and traumatised this young woman both physically and mentally.

"These sentences are another injury and I fear it will take even longer for her to recover."

These sentences don't come close to reflecting the brutality and horror of this attack
Kathryn Stone OBE, Voice UK

One of the men, Rogel McMorris, 18, from Seven Sisters, was jailed for nine years for two counts of rape and grievous bodily harm at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday.

Co-defendants Jason Brew, 19, from Tottenham, north London, and Hector Muaimba, 20, from Walthamstow, east London, were jailed for six years each for the rape. Muaimba was given a further two-year term for a separate robbery.

Passing sentence, Judge Shaun Lyons said: "The most severe injuries and consequences came from the caustic soda.

"The victim has been left with severe post traumatic stress disorder and many, many physical difficulties."

The court heard that the girl is also undergoing counselling following the attack.

"These sentences don't come close to reflecting the brutality and horror of this attack," said chief executive of Voice UK, Kathryn Stone OBE.

"They send completely the wrong message to society."

Facing hurdles

Deborah Kitson, director of The Ann Craft Trust, said victims with learning difficulties often faced "hurdles" in getting justice.

"Most people don't realise that people with learning disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape," she said.

"They can also face lots of hurdles in getting justice and fear not being believed if they come forward. Sentences such as this can damage people's confidence in the courts."

Seven other men had been originally charged over the attack.

Bradley Daley Smith, 22, and Miguel Almeida, 22, both of Edmonton, north London, and Bruno Abrantes, 24, from Tottenham, were all acquitted of grievous bodily harm.

Charges against three others were dropped while Steven Bigby, 22, of Upper Edmonton, was stabbed to death in Oxford Street while he was on bail.

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Three guilty of raping teenager
08 Dec 08 |  London

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