Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton schoolgirl rapists have sentences doubled

Two men who raped an 11-year-old girl in Luton have had their "unduly lenient" sentences more than doubled.

Roshane Channer and Ruben Monteiro, both 21, were originally jailed at Luton Crown Court for three years and four months for the July 2011 rape.

The sentences were changed to seven years by three Court of Appeal judges who agreed with the attorney general they were too lenient.

Channer and Monteiro will also be on the sex offenders register for life.

At the original hearing in February, Channer, of no fixed address, and Monteiro, of Luton had admitted raping the schoolgirl in a block of flats in Luton.

The court heard the that pair had carried out the attack while two other youths watched and a video recording of part of the incident was taken on a mobile phone.

'Strong message'

Presiding judge David Farrell QC had said the case was "abhorrent" and that the pair had shown a "casual attitude to sex and relationships".

However, he also said there were exceptional features to the case which led him to reduce the sentence for each to 40 months.

He said the prosecution accepted that the girl had not objected to what was happening, and the men had pleaded guilty at the earliest stage and did not have previous convictions for sexual offences.

That sentence was regarded by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC, as "unduly lenient" and the case was referred to the Court of Appeal.

In a statement after the ruling he said he was pleased that the Court of Appeal had given clear guidance in respect of sentencing these kinds of sexual offences.

"The law is clear that children under the age of 13 are incapable of giving consent to sexual activity," he said.

"I hope that today's sentence sends out a strong message to anyone who commits terrible crimes such as these - that you can expect to spend a substantial time in prison."

Baljit Ubhey, from Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The original sentences of 40 months imprisonment in no way reflected the severity or seriousness of their crime. Today's increased sentences do."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites