A pensioner, jailed for molesting two schoolgirls more than 30 years ago, has had his sentence cut.
Peter Lee, 76, was jailed for nine years at Ipswich Crown Court in October last year after he was convicted of 18 counts of indecent assault and indecency against the traumatised youngsters.
The “domineering” sex predator also battered and kicked one of the girls, London’s Appeal Court heard, as well as pushing her downstairs and “throwing her against a wall”.
Both teenagers were left mentally scarred by their ordeals, said Lord Justice Aikens, who added that their “childhoods had been robbed”.
Lee, of Lords lane, Heacham, who at the time of his sentencing was working in a sweet shop in the village, challenged his sentence, claiming it was excessive in light of his age, failing health and the antiquity of his crimes.
Lord Justice Aikens, sitting with Mr Justice Griffith-Williams and Mr Justice Turner, reduced his total sentence to seven years, noting that Lee will be approaching 80 when he becomes eligible for release. He also quashed two of Lee’s gross indecency convictions because the prosecution’s indictment was not sufficiently specific.
“The necessary ingredients of the offence of indecency could not be made out,” he said, although adding that this did not affect the overall sentence.
Addressing Lee’s sentence challenge, Lord Justice Aikens said the crown court judge had faced a “difficult sentencing exercise”, having presided over a harrowing trial “at which the (victims) had to give evidence about the abuse they suffered”.
But the appeal judge ruled: “In our judgment, he failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality – particularly given that Lee was 75 at the time of sentence and had not committed any further offences of this nature”.
The offences of indecent assault and gross indecency with the girls occurred between 1972 and 1975 in Sheffield and between 1975 and 1981 in Haverhill.