08/06/2006

Sentence increased for baby rapist

A man who raped a 12-week-old baby girl has had his minimum jail term increased from six years to eight years by the Court of Appeal.

Alan Webster, 40, from Hatfield, Hertfordshire was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum sentence of six years, in January, after admitting to raping and indecently assaulting the child, as well as photographing the abuse.

Webster also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl, Kirsty Little, who is now 17 and waived her anonymity after the trial. He also pleaded guilty to seven offences of possessing images of child abuse.

His girlfriend, Tanya French, 19, also from Hatfield, was sentenced to five years, as well as an extended licence period of five years, after pleading guilty to the same charges.

The judge had suggested that French was also a victim of Webster's and had been corrupted by him to some extent.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Webster's minimum sentence had been too short and increased it to eight years. French's sentence was kept the same.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Philips, who headed the panel of Appeal Court judges, said: "His (Webster's) sentence was life imprisonment and such was the depravity that it was questionable whether the parole board would ever consider that he should be released.

The baby's mother had described the sentences originally given to Webster and French as a "joke".

She said she had been unaware of the abuse until detectives visited her after photographs detailing the abuse were discovered in Webster's home.

(KMcA)

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