February 2015

Pervert who sexually abused two young girls in the Reading area has had his jail term cut by top judges on appeal

jp

A Wiltshire man who sexually abused two young girls in the Reading area has had his jail term cut by top judges on appeal.

James Nicholas Phillips raped one young victim in the 1990s, when he was a teenager and she was aged under 12.

He molested another young victim in more recent years – with one offence being committed when she was just four-years-old.

The 32-year-old, of Springfield Drive, Calne, was jailed for 20 years at Reading Crown Court in August last year, after being convicted of seven sex offences.

But his sentence has now been cut to 17 years by judges sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, who said the original term was ‘too long’.

The court heard Phillips committed the offences between 1997 and 2011 against two girls in the Reading area.

He raped one victim and threatened her that no-one would believe her if she told them what he had done.

That girl, who was aged under 12, was left with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse. The other victim was targeted by Phillips when he was in his 20s.

He denied any wrongdoing, but was found guilty of three counts of inciting a child to commit gross indecency, two of rape, one of sexual assault on a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

His lawyers argued his jail term was too long in light of the fact he was a teenager when he committed the first set of offences.

Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Nicol said, while he later targeted a second victim, it was ‘arguable’ the judge did not take enough account of his youth at the time of the earlier crimes.

Sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Judge Stephen Kramer QC, he added: “Putting all these matters together, we agree that the sentences passed by the judge were too high.”