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A Wigan man who drunkenly three times tried to rape a woman council ...
A Wigan man who drunkenly three times tried to rape a woman council

employee when she made a duty visit to his home has had his 'unduly

lenient' prison sentence increased from six years to eight by the

Criminal Appeal Court in London.

Robert Sheppard, of Poplar Avenue, Worsley Hall, was

jailed on December 17 last year at Bolton Crown Court after being

found guilty.

He received concurrent terms of six years for three attempted

rapes, three years for three indecent assaults and one year for making

a threat to kill.

The Appeal Court upheld the Attorney General's submission that

the sentences were 'unduly lenient' and substituted terms of eight

years, six years and two years respectively for the three groups of


The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, sitting with Mr. Justice

Brian Smedley and Mr. Justice Thomas, stated: 'The trial judge's scale

of sentencing was seriously too low.

'Appropriate sentences following a contested trial would have

been nine years for the attempted rapes, seven years for the indecent

assaults and three years for the threat to kill.

'However this is the second time Sheppard had had to face the

ordeal of a sentencing exercise and some discount is to be made'.

Lord Bingham said Sheppard attacked a 28-year-old woman

employed by Wigan MBC when she made a pre-arranged duty call at his home last June while his wife was in hospital and his three young children were elsewhere.

Before she arrived he had closed curtains and after admitting

her he locked the door and put the keys in his pocket.

Sheppard, who was drunk, told her to take off her clothes and

as she started to do so he ordered her upstairs.

She was very frightened and feared the consequences if she did

not obey. He put his hands around her throat and said he would slit it

if she told anyone. Sheppard then committed the sexual offences.

After an hour-long ordeal she eventually managed to persuade

him to let her leave. In her car she became hysterical before reporting the incident.

She said that since the attack she had been unable to live

alone, her personality had been affected, her self-esteem lowered and

she was unable to carry out the type of work she had been doing.

Mr. Richard Whittam for the Attorney General told the Appeal

Court that aggravating features included: Sheppard attacked a public

servant in the course of her duty, threatened to kill her, persisted

in attempts to rape her and subjected her to sexual indignities.

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