A paedophile who walked free from court with a suspended sentence has been caged for two years after the DPP appealed the leniency.
Anthony Spellman, 51, originally from Mervue, Co Galway, was last year sentenced to a total of 56 months for four counts of indecent assault against a seven-year-old boy on dates in 1985 and 1986.
But after he pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court moments before his trial was due to take place, Judge Rory McCabe suspended the entire sentence.
The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed this on the grounds of undue leniency and the Court of Criminal Appeal re-sentenced him to 56 months with 32 months suspended.
His now 40-year-old victim has said that he was “delighted” to see Spellman finally going to prison.
He said: “I’m over the moon, delighted. I was gutted when he walked last year so to see him finally going to jail is brilliant.
It’s a strange kind of feeling, I didn’t even think he’d get two years. It just feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can get on with my life now.”
The three judges in the Court of Criminal Appeal agreed the original sentence which was imposed by Galway Circuit Criminal Court was unduly lenient.
Presiding Judge Alan Mahon said: “It is clear that these were very serious offences and they were coupled with threats made by the accused against the victim.
“The Victim Impact Report makes for difficult reading and what’s quite clear is the serious effect these offences had on the victim and continue to have.
“The accused did plead guilty but his plea was at a late date.
“Only in extraordinary circumstances should the entirety of a sentence be suspended and I see none of the circumstances in this case.
“He must serve some period of incarceration and this will come as a disappointment to him having received a suspended sentence last year.
“We have to re-sentence him and will impose the original sentence of 56 months and suspend 32 months of that.”
Spellman, who was 19 at the time of the offences, originally received 14 months on each count to run consecutively.
His trial heard he indecently assaulted the boy in his bedroom and in a gym where he worked.
Spellman then threatened to slit the throats of the boys parents if he said anything. He later emigrated to the UK with his family.
In his Victim Impact Report, the victim said his mother died from cancer when he was 14 and his father died from a heart attack in front of him on Christmas morning when he was 18.
He added: “My world caved in and I went off the rails on drink, drugs and all the things I shouldn’t have done.
“I was carrying a lot of hatred and guilt inside of me because of him and what he had done to me and that is some burden to carry.
“All my life I was angry at myself because of you.
“Since the age of between six and seven you robbed me of my childhood because of your attacks and you made my life a living hell.
“I was afraid to tell anyone, not alone because of your threats, but also because you made me feel ashamed of myself because of what you did to me when I was a child.”
Spellman’s counsel Bernard Madden SC said that his client had already paid a huge personal price.
He now lives in Cheshire and had lost his job as a warehouse operative following his conviction. He got another job but also lost that when news of the court case appeared online.