Febuary 2012

Jailed paedophile wins appeal over sentence

A PAEDOPHILE who said raping a toddler was “like a computer game” has won an appeal against his sentence.

Joseph John Hawley, aged 39, of Boundary Street, Bradley Fold, Bolton, filmed himself raping and molesting the two-year-old girl and streamed the footage live on the internet for the gratification for two of his friends.

The voyeurs, one of whom was a former deputy headteacher, encouraged Hawley to carry out the abuse.

Hawley was given an indefinite prison sentence for public protection at Liverpool Crown Court in October last year, with a minimum of eight years before he can be considered for parole.

The minimum term was yesterday reduced to six years and eight months by judges at the Criminal Appeal Court in London, after Hawley’s lawyers argued the sentencing judge had been so appalled by the crimes he allowed his emotions to influence the sentence.

Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Saunders and Judge Stephen Kramer QC, said the indefinite sentence was justified, but the minimum term was too long.

He added: “We do accept the sentence was too high. There is perhaps an element of double counting in the way the judge approached this matter.”

Hawley was caught during an international investigation into internet chatrooms by the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre in Canada.

Evidence led police to the home of Patrick Lennon in Crosby, who was, at the time in September, 2009, a respected deputy headteacher at a school in Southport.

The online conversations between him, Hawley and Phillip Skitt, aged 54, from Wigan, contained discussions about Hawley raping a young child.

Hawley admitted three counts of rape of a child under 13, three of assault by penetration, one of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and 13 of making indecent photographs of a child.

Lord Justice Elias said Hawley showed a “lack of understanding”

of how serious his crimes were, and told probation officers he felt as though he was having sex with a computer game rather than his young victim.

Skitt’s appeal against his eightyear sentence was dismissed, while Lennon, aged 60, did not appeal against his seven-year sentence