June 2017

Teenage sex offender has jail term cut

A Swindon man who raped a six-year-old girl at least 10 times when he was a teenager himself has had his jail term slashed by top judges on appeal.

John Anthony Liddiard told his victim she would be taken away from her parents and put into care if she told anyone about her horrific ordeal.

The now 23-year-old, of Buttermere, Swindon, got away with what he had done for almost a decade because of his threats.

But the brave victim eventually came forward and Liddiard was jailed for 10 years at Swindon Crown Court in August last year.

He was convicted of two counts of raping a child under 13.

He was aged between 13 and 15 when the offences were committed between January 2007 and August 2009.

In 2010, Liddiard was convicted of sexually assaulting two other girls of a similar age.

But senior judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court have now cut that sentence to eight years, ruling he had been treated too harshly.

Judge John Wait, sitting with Mrs Justice McGowan and Lord Justice Hamblen, heard Liddiard’s lawyers argue that his youth and vulnerable mental state at the time had not been adequately taken into account.

They said Liddiard had wrongly been fixed with “the culpability of an adult” although he was himself in his early teens when he molested the girl.

Judge Wait said the victim had “suffered greatly from his offending” and “still suffered flashbacks” to what Liddiard did to her.

But he went on to cut the sentence, saying: “The motivation for his sexual offending had occurred when he was immature and experiencing emotional difficulties.

“These were serious offences that had a profound effect on the complainant.

“Nevertheless the appropriate sentence would have been one of eight years’ imprisonment,” the judge concluded.