The sentence of a Merseyside man who sexually abused two young children has been increased by the Court of Appeal.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Ryan Hawkins, 30, sexually abused the two children in September 2021. He filmed and photographed the abuse and distributed one of the photographs.
However, one of the people he was chatting to online about the abuse was an undercover officer from the National Crime Agency.
Hawkins was initially arrested on 29 September 2021 and again on 18 October 2021, after the filmed abuse was found on his phone.
On 16 November 2021, Hawkins pleaded guilty to one count of raping a child, two counts of sexually assaulting a child, two counts of making indecent images/ videos of a child, and one count of distributing an indecent image of a child.
On 17 December 2021, at Liverpool Crown Court, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment with a 5 year extended licence.
The CPS referred this case to the Solicitor-General’s office, on the basis that it considered it to be unduly lenient. The Solicitor-General agreed, and applied to the Court of Appeal for the sentence to be re-considered.
On 23 February 2022, at the Court of Appeal in London, the bench concluded that it was.
They agreed that the rape involved extreme harm and multiple, high culpability factors, placing it within the most serious sentencing category.
A further, significant uplift was also applied to one of the sexual assaults, given its serious aggravating features and the gravity of the offending, albeit that sentence and the sentences for the other offences, would remain to be served concurrently to the rape offence.
The Judges decided that an appropriate sentence was 22 years imprisonment, but due to the Defendant’s early guilty pleas, his credit for the same reduced the sentence by a third.
Hawkins’ sentence now is 14 years 8 months imprisonment, with a 5 year extended licence.
Senior Crown Prosecutor, Sarah Egan, a specialist lawyer with CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit, said, “There are few words that can adequately describe the nature of this case, nor the impact Hawkin’s actions have had upon the victims and their family and it would be an insult to attempt to do so.
“There is no sentence that could be passed that could truly reflect the seriousness of a case like this, nor the trauma that has been inflicted. However, the Crown Prosecution Service welcomes the decision from the Court of Appeal. The sentence now imposed is closer to reflecting what has happened and its consequences.
“We would like to thank the victims and family for the courage and strength they have shown throughout the proceedings, as well as the parties involved who have assisted in bringing a successful prosecution. We hope that the prosecution, and the decision by the Court of Appeal, allows the family to move forward with their lives.”