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Geoffrey Stoneham's appeal to have rape sentence reduced fails
10:08am Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
A PENSIONER serving eight years behind bars for the brutal rape of a teenager more than 30 years ago has failed in an Appeal Court bid to have his sentence reduced.
Geoffrey Stoneham was only brought to justice for the savage 1980 attack in High Wycombe following a cold case review of the original investigation.
The 66-year-old, now of Walnut Way, Swanley, Kent, who formerly lived in South Oxhey, was jailed at Aylesbury Crown Court in October 2009 after admitting rape.
He challenged his sentence yesterday at London's Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it should have been reduced because he named his accomplice.
But his appeal was dismissed by judges who said his decision to reveal the other rapist was not motivated by remorse and only came after he had already been sentenced.
Lord Justice Pitchford told the court Stoneham and his accomplice, Norman Stanley, raped their 17-year-old victim in High Wycombe.
As she was returning from the cinema with her boyfriend, she passed Stoneham, who grabbed her from behind and thrust a pointed article into her back - which she believed was a knife.
He dragged her up a railway embankment, where Stanley was waiting, and the pair took it in turns to rape her before leaving and telling her they would kill her if she moved before five minutes was up.
The terrified victim gathered her clothes and ran home before reporting the incident to police.
However, her attackers remained at large until a review of the case in 2008, during which DNA samples taken at the time were found to be a match for Stoneham.
He admitted the offence in October 2009, but kept the identity of the other man secret until January the following year, when he named Stanley.
While giving a statement to police, Stoneham claimed he played a "secondary" role in the crime and repeatedly referred to the incident as a "so-called rape" - despite previously having admitted guilt.
In turn, Stanley, 63, of Great Billington, Bedfordshire, claimed he only became involved because he was put under duress by Stoneham.
However, the jury at his trial disbelieved his story and he was jailed for nine years after being convicted of rape at Aylesbury Crown Court in July 2010.
Stoneham's lawyers urged the Appeal Court judges to reduce his jail term, in light of the assistance he gave the prosecution in bringing Stanley to justice.
But, dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Pitchford said the court could not - three years later - intervene and treat him as though he had given the information before his sentence.
The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Hickinbottom and Judge Guy Boney QC, said that, even if he had been willing to help as soon as he was arrested, there would have been no reason to reduce his jail term.
He added: "He was clearly not motivated by remorse or by any desire to tell the truth but by a wish to put the blame on Stanley."
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