'Dangerous' paedophile sees sentence reduced
PUBLISHED: 09:58 10 May 2011
A 'DANGEROUS' paedophile who sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl has seen his prison sentence slashed by top judges in London.
Barry Hood, of Stanley Grove in Weston, was indefinitely jailed for public protection after admitting three child sex offences last November.
At the time, Judge Carol Hagen ruled that Hood – who also had two previous convictions relating to indecent behaviour around children – must serve a minimum of five years before he could even apply for parole.
But three senior judges at the Court of Appeal this week decided the sentence was too harsh, and reduced his minimum tariff by a third.
Back in November, the Mercury reported how Hood had lured the youngster into his flat before sexually assaulting her over two days.
He was caught – literally, with his pants down – by the victim’s mother, and admitted to her: “I know, I know, I thought I could cope with it, but I can’t.”
Hood pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and making indecent images of children, and was described by prosecutor James Ward as posing ‘a serious risk of sexual harm to children’.
The victim’s mother called upon the court to impose ‘the longest sentence possible’, and police officers who investigated the case spoke of their satisfaction at the sentence that was handed down.
A probation report also ruled that Hood was a ‘dangerous offender’, who posed a ‘significant risk’ to young girls.
But this week Hood saw his minimum stretch reduced to three-and-a-half years.
This followed a legal argument by his solicitor Kirsty Real, who said his minimum term was too long considering he admitted the crimes, which were ‘opportunistic’ rather than carefully planned.
She added that comments made by Judge Hagen during sentencing had given Hood a ‘legitimate expectation’ of a shorter term.
Judge Paget, sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Mrs Justice Rafferty, agreed that – based on the Bristol judge’s remarks about the case - a shorter minimum term should have been imposed.
He told the court: “We have come to the conclusion that it was clear the judge fell into error in what she said.”
Hood’s previous convictions saw him jailed for an assault on a girl of a similar age in 1982, and further court sanctions for indecently exposing himself to two young girls in 1998.