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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 15:28 GMT
Paedophile's 'lenient' sentence increased
Child (generic)
Webb had originally been given a four year jail sentence
A Jehovah's Witness who was jailed for four years for forcing an 11-year-old girl to carry out sex acts has had his sentence almost doubled at the Court of Appeal.

Ian David Webb, 30, from Merthyr Tydfil, was jailed at Cardiff Crown Court in July, but the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith QC challenged the sentence as being 'unduly lenient'.

On Tuesday the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, increased his sentence from four to seven years.

Webb from Troedyrhiw in the south Wales valleys, was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court in July of three indecent assaults, attempted rape and indecency with a child. The judge sentenced him to four years.

The court had been told how he had groomed his victim.

Addressing the Court of Appeal on behalf of the attorney general, Simon Denison said Webb had picked on an "emotionally vulnerable" girl and had made her feel "isolated" before carrying out the abuse.

His attacks against her became "progressively more serious" until he attempted to rape her in the late-1990s when she was 11 years old.

But the teenager did not decide to press charges and it was not until she was a teenager when she saw him with other children and feared what he would to do them, that she felt able to go to the police.

Webb was later charged but pleaded not guilty.

By doing so, observed the appeal court judge, Webb - of previous good character - had put the girl through the added ordeal of having to give evidence against him in court.

Increasing Webb's sentence to seven years, Lord Woolf added that if it were not for "double jeopardy" - the fact Webb was effectively being sentenced twice - he would have got nine years.

Webb's victim, he said, has been deeply scarred by what happened and had claimed he had "ruined her life".

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