South East Wales

Child rapist Jeffrey Goodwyn sentence is 'unlawful'

A child rapist has been released after a judge said it would be "unlawful" to keep him locked up.

Jeffrey Charles Goodwyn, 48, was given an indeterminate sentence in 2012 for indecently assaulting a seven-year-old girl eight or more years earlier.

He already had a previous conviction for raping a nine-year-old child.

Mr Justice Coulson said at the Court of Appeal that an open-ended sentence could only be passed for offences after April 2005.

"Despite the danger to the public which this applicant clearly represents, we are in no doubt that... The IPP (imprisonment for public protection) was unlawful," he said.

The court heard Goodwyn was given an indeterminate sentence at Cardiff Crown Court in 2012 after admitting offences against a seven year old girl and being considered "a very dangerous offender indeed" by the judge.

'No progress'

Such sentences allow the authorities to keep the most dangerous criminals locked up indefinitely until they have proved they are safe.

But Goodwyn went to the Court of Appeal about the sentence.

At the hearing on Tuesday, the judge heard that while in prison Goodwyn refused to transfer to open conditions and the Parole Board described his conduct as unsatisfactory after he threatened staff and was punished for fighting.

And Goodwyn's own lawyers said he had made "no progress whatsoever" in prison.

He had also refused to discuss his sexual offending, the court heard.

Mr Justice Coulson said: "This applicant remains a very dangerous man.

"Because of his failure to engage with the relevant assistance available to him in prison, he has not begun to address his offending."

But he said the legal problems surrounding the IPP sentence meant he had no choice but to quash the term.

He imposed a three-year custodial sentence on Goodwyn, which he has already served, followed by five years on licence.

The judge had held back his decision for a fortnight while Goodwyn's parole arrangements, including hostel accommodation, were put in place.

Responding to the ruling NSPCC Wales head of service Des Mannion said: "It is extremely frightening that a child rapist described as 'very dangerous' and unrepentant has been released back in to the community due to what seems like a legal technicality surrounding the timing of the offence."

Indeterminate prison sentences

An indeterminate prison sentence is where the court sets the minimum term of imprisonment an offender must serve before becoming eligible to be considered for release by the Parole Board. There are two types of indeterminate sentence: Imprisonment for life and Imprisonment for public protection.

A sentence of imprisonment for public protection was in force between 2005 and 2012 and could be imposed under section 225 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (as amended), where:

  • The offender is convicted of a serious sexual or violent offence which is punishable by imprisonment for life or a determinate period of 10 years or more
  • In the court's opinion the offender poses a significant risk to the public of serious harm by the commission of further specified offences
  • The offence is punishable with life imprisonment and the court is satisfied that the seriousness of the offence justifies such a sentence
  • The offender has a previous conviction for an offence listed in schedule 15A to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or the current offence warrants a notional minimum term of at least two years
  • Once an offender has served the minimum term set by the court, the Parole Board will decide whether the offender can be released
  • If an offender serving an IPP is released, they will be subject to an IPP licence and may be recalled to prison if at any point they are considered a risk to the public. After 10 years (and yearly after this if unsuccessful), an offender may apply for their licence to be cancelled. This decision is at the discretion of the Parole Board.

Source: Sentencing Council

Related Topics