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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Family call for tougher sentences
Craig Sweeney
Sweeney will be eligibile for parole after five years and 108 days
The family of a three-year-old girl abused by a paedophile will call for tougher sentencing for sex offenders when they meet the Attorney General.

Craig Sweeney's case sparked an outcry when he was jailed for life for sexual assault but told he could apply for parole in five years' time.

The girl's parents have agreed to have a private meeting with Lord Goldsmith.

He made the invitation after ruling on Monday not to challenge the sentence handed down by Cardiff Crown Court.

Sweeney's sentence led to widespread criticism, including a request by the Home Secretary John Reid for Lord Goldsmith to review it.

The 24-year-old abducted the child from her Cardiff home in January and took her to his Newport flat where he sexually assaulted her.

He had been living there following release from a three-year prison sentence for indecently assaulting a six-year-old girl. He was caught after a high-speed car chase - with the child in the car - in Wiltshire.

All I can do for my daughter now is to make sure the law is changed and I will not give up that fight
Victim's mother

The victim's mother said: "This time last year I couldn't have told you who the mayor of Cardiff was, let alone the Attorney General.

"But people like him think they run the country and can do just as they please. Well, we will not be patronised.

"All I can do for my daughter now is to make sure the law is changed and I will not give up that fight.

"To start with, I want the rule of granting one-third off a sentence for admitting guilt to be scrapped for child sex offenders.

"Once a pervert or paedophile like Sweeney is caught they should be locked up for life.

"If they are jailed for a limited time they should have to serve the whole of their sentence with no eligibility for parole.

"Houses in the community are opened up and built for these people all over the country. What they should be doing is building more prisons.

"At the end of the day, a child's life is precious and the issue of whether a child should ever be put at risk should never arise."

'Dangerous'

The girl's father said: "It is called the criminal justice system and justice is certainly on the criminals' side.

"What we need is a victims' justice system."

He added: "Sweeney is actually a very dangerous paedophile who should never be let out.

"In court, the judge told him that he had no doubt that he would commit another offence against a child as soon as he was released.

"Sweeney just stood there and nodded his head. How can it be possible that he could ever be released in such circumstances?"




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