July 2015

Redditch rapist has too soft sentence doubled to 20 years

Rapist-John-Dennis

A rapist jailed for a string of vile sex attacks on four women has had his sentence doubled to 20 years.

John Dennis, 43, of Bushley Close, Redditch, was branded a “manipulative bully” after his ten-year jail term was beefed up at the Court of Appeal today, Wednesday.

He was convicted of five offences of rape and three of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Birmingham Crown Court in April.

The Attorney General’s Office, which revealed his increased sentence, said he tried to discredit the victims as liars and fantasists.

His trial heard the attacks covered a 16-year period from 1997 to 2013.

But one of his victims, from Longbridge, went to police in September 2013, prompting three more to come forward.

The Court of Appeal heard his first victim was just 15 when she was attacked as she slept in 1997.

He knew she was a schoolgirl and gave her a contemptuous “pat on the bottom” before leaving, the court was told.

Judge Lady Justice Rafferty said the victim “endured years of psychological upset”.

Dennis’ second victim was a woman he twice raped, said the judge, adding he also subjected her to violent assaults by strangulation and an attack with a broom.

His third and fourth victims were women who were both separately raped as they slept, after he met them in a pub.

In each case the women believed they had been drugged or had their drinks spiked, although that was not part of the case against Dennis.

“He had, however, said the Crown, capitalised on the intoxication and taken advantage of it,” said Lady Justice Rafferty.

Doubling Dennis’ original sentence, the judge said she had “just pulled back” from handing him a life term.

The argument that his’ sentence was far too light was “unanswerable”, she added, particularly given the emotional devastation suffered by his victims.

All had been left psychologically scarred by his attacks, said the judge.

One woman tried to hang herself shortly before she was due to testify against Dennis.

The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston and Judge Deborah Taylor, said she had, “with some reservations”, decided not to pass a life sentence.

But she added: “This was a chronicle of cold and callous sexual degradation of four women committed over 16 years.

“The youngest victim was a sad and turbulent schoolgirl of 15”.

The sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal as unduly lenient by Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP.

He said: “I asked the Court of Appeal to look at this ten-year term under the unduly lenient sentence scheme because of the seriousness and magnitude of rapes committed over a sustained period of time.

“John Dennis’s highly predatory behaviour caused untold misery to his victims, who should be commended for finding the courage to come forward.

“I hope the doubling of this sentence to 20 years offers some degree of comfort to them and reassures the public that offences of this kind will be treated with the utmost seriousness and the perpetrators will serve a long time in prison.”