Anger at five-year jail term for rapist

A RAPE victim support service has called for tougher sentencing from the courts after a man was handed a five-year prison term after he admitted repeatedly raping a teenage girl.

Elliot Furniss

A RAPE victim support service has called for tougher sentencing from the courts after a man was handed a five-year prison term after he admitted repeatedly raping a teenage girl.

James Krengel, a 27-year-old builder from Mayland, near Maldon, was given an indeterminate prison sentence - with a five-year minimum term - for the public's protection at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday.

He had previously admitted attacking the 16-year-old in an area known as Bunny Walks in Chelmsford in December last year - a footpath close to the Riverside retail park commonly used by local residents.

However, Lindsey Read of Colchester Rape Crisis Line, said the sentence was too low and sent out the wrong message.

Krengel, of Nipsells Chase, was arrested just three days after the attack following a police investigation.

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He pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and one count of attempted robbery when he appeared in court last month but sentencing was delayed for psychiatric reports.

He was given an indeterminate sentence, with a five-year minimum term before he will be considered for parole.

If he fails to show sufficient remorse or is considered likely to re-offend, he will remain in prison for a longer spell or until he is seen as safe to release.

But, after hearing of the sentence, Ms Read said: “Five years is not really punitive. A longer sentence would really have been in order to signify the seriousness of the offence.

“We need to remember that these sort of attacks are really, really rare and most will happen to somebody by someone they know. I don't think they're sending out a good message about how serious this crime can be.”

She said she found the general public to be “upset” that rapists were given time off their sentences for admissions of guilt and that it did not detract from the gravity of the crime.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent John Quinton said he now hoped that with Krengel behind bars, the victim could begin to put the ordeal behind her.

He said: “This was a violent assault on a young woman which occurred in the early evening on a walkway that is a common footpath for many local people.

“I hope that the knowledge this dangerous man is now off the streets offers some small comfort to his victim so that she can begin to put her ordeal behind her.”

The average prison term handed out to rapists is 82 months and a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said sentencing was a matter for the courts.

She said: “The judge has to look at any aggravating factors and mitigating factors. The indeterminate sentencing guidelines set out a range for judges to consider and have said that a guilty plea should be a mitigating factor - not least because the victim doesn't have the trauma of going to court to give evidence.”

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