May 2010

‘Vile’ paedophile fails in bid to get sentence slashed

A PREDATORY paedophile from Retford who raped two young girls and sexually assaulted another has failed to persuade top judges his potentially lifelong sentence was over the top.

“Dangerous” Robert Graham Park, 66, of Hallcroft Road, was put behind bars indefinitely for public protection (IPP), with an eight-year minimum term to serve, at Nottingham Crown Court on October 8 last year.

He admitted seven rapes, two indecent assaults and a string of other sex offences against underage girls.

Last week he asked Lord Justice Aikens, Mrs Justice Slade and Judge James Wadsworth QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, to quash the open-ended sentence, or at least reduce the eight-year minimum he must serve before he can even apply for parole.

The court heard Park’s offending began in the 1970s and stretched over several decades.

He told one young girl she would not be able to have children when she was older unless she allowed him to abuse her. He also used “threats” to persuade other victims to keep quiet.

One of his victims contemplated suicide because of what had happened to her and all had been deeply scarred by their ordeals.

His lawyers argued he should not have been given an indefinite sentence and that his minimum term exceeded sentencing guidelines.

But, refusing him permission to appeal, Mrs Justice Slade said: “He vilely abused young girls, taking advantage of them in a major and depraved way.

“He has ruined the lives of some of these girls or women. The judge was satisfied that this appellant was a dangerous offender and he was fully entitled to impose an IPP.”

The judge concluded, despite his age and medical difficulties the “harsh” minimum term was also justified.

“His age and ill health did not stop him. This was an appalling case,” said Mrs Justice Slade, rejecting the appeal.