July 2013

Birmingham sex attacker loses appeal against jail sentence


A Birmingham sex offender who preyed on lone women late at night and tried to pull the clothes off a teenage schoolgirl in an alleyway, has failed in an appeal against the open-ended jail sentence he was handed.

John James Twamley, 26, of Grendon Road, Maypole, pounced on a 15-year-old girl when she left a party to make a phone call, dragging down her trousers and underwear, and pulling her into an alleyway.

She forced him away from her, but he left his DNA at the scene after committing a sex act while standing and laughing at his terrified victim.

The horrific attack came just two months after Twamley had cornered a 21-year-old woman as she walked home from a pub in Yardley, dragging her to the ground and pulling down her trousers.

She fought back and Twamley ran off, but she was left with “life-changing” effects, including shattered confidence, poor sleep and emotional problems.

The pervert admitted two sexual assaults and one assault by penetration, and was jailed indefinitely at Birmingham Crown Court in October 2011.

His imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence is almost identical to a standard life term because he can only be freed when – and if ever – he is considered safe back on the streets by experts.

Sentencing him, the crown court judge said he considered Twamley a “significant” risk of “serious” harm, justifying an open-ended prison sentence.

On Friday he appealed against the sentence and the five-year stretch he must serve before he can even apply to the Parole Board for release.

A sentence which included a definite release date, then an extended period of supervised licence, would have been enough to protect the public, his defence team pleaded with appeal judges.

But Lady Justice Hallett said: “This man knows the devastating impact on victims and yet he goes out and is clearly a sexual night-time predator.”

Rejecting the appeal, Mr Justice Jay said: “This offender was likely to be difficult to treat, and there was no material in his favour to suggest he could be safely managed in the community.

“The judge was entitled to be of the view that the risk was unlikely to have reduced to an acceptable level by the time the appropriate custodial term had expired.”

Upholding the minimum term, he added: “These were two night-time offences, perpetrated in a predatory manner. Although undoubtedly a severe sentence, we have concluded the minimum term of five years cannot be challenged in this court.”

Twamley can only be freed after serving five years if he is considered safe. The majority of prisoners on IPP sentences serve much longer than their minimum terms.