Two notorious rapists who are serving life sentences have had their minimum jail terms increased from 30 to 40 years by the Court of Appeal.
Joseph McCann, 35, was given 33 life sentences at the Old Bailey last December for a string of sex attacks on 11 women and children – one aged 11 – during 15-day cocaine and vodka-fuelled rampage.
Reynard Sinaga, 37, was handed a life sentence at Manchester Crown Court in January after being convicted of more than 150 offences, including 136 counts of rape, committed against 48 men. Police have also linked him to more than 190 potential victims.
The Attorney General’s Office referred the 30-year minimum jail terms handed to McCann and Sinaga to the Court of Appeal as “unduly lenient” earlier this year.
At a hearing in London in October, Solicitor General Michael Ellis QC argued the pair should either have been given whole life terms or longer minimum terms for their crimes, which he said were among “some of the worst and most violent that this country has ever witnessed”.
A panel of five judges refused to impose whole-life terms on McCann and Sinaga but increased their minimum sentences to 40 years.
Giving the court’s ruling on Friday, December 10 the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said:
“The offending in the cases of McCann and Sinaga, very serious indeed though it is, does not, in our judgment, call for either to receive a whole life tariff.
“This is not to minimise the seriousness of their offending but instead to ensure that the most severe sentence in our jurisdiction is reserved, save exceptionally, either for the most serious cases involving loss of life, or when a substantive plan to murder of similar seriousness is interrupted close to fulfilment.”
Lord Burnett said McCann and Sinaga’s crimes are some of the most serious offences of rape to have been tried within England and Wales.
He added: “Neither man has shown any remorse and the long-term psychological damage for at least some of the victims in both trials is profound and will only be understood in the years to come.”
The judge said whether either man is in fact ever released from prison will depend on the Parole Board’s assessment of the risk they pose after they have served their minimum jail terms.
In a statement after the ruling, Mr Ellis said: “Both offenders carried out some of the most heinous and depraved sexual attacks that shocked the nation.
“I am grateful for the guidance the court gave about whole life orders and I am pleased that the court imposed a longer minimum term.
“I hope this brings some solace to the victims of these despicable crimes.”