February 2006

Appeal in child ‘sex’ case fails

A MAN who sexually molested and tried to rape a 13-year-old girl has failed to win a cut in his sentence.

Alexander Gordon Wood (42), of Bolton Road North, Ramsbottom, was jailed for six years at Burnley Crown Court last August, after being found guilty of sexual activity with a child, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and attempted rape.

He also received an extended term of two years, meaning that if he takes one step out of line in the 24 months after this jail sentence, he can be recalled to prison.

London’s Criminal Appeal Court refused to cut his sentence last Friday, rejecting claims it was ‘manifestly excessive’.

Mrs Justice Rafferty, sitting with Sir Douglas Brown, dismissed claims the judge failed to take account of Wood’s personal mitigation, including the fact all offences were part of one incident, his effective previous good character, and the abuse and harassment he suffered after being charged with the offences.

His barrister, Justin Hayhoe, told the judges Wood had been under stress at the time, after having separated from his wife and after a close friend tried to commit suicide, adding he drank an excessive amount of alcohol on the evening in question.

Letters from family and friends showed they were all ‘astonished’ at what he had done.

‘The judge balanced the twin concerns of public interest and the welfare of the appellant and achieved equilibrium,’ the judge concluded, in dismissing the appeal.