Rapist's jail term increased for historic crimes after court decides original sentence was too soft

Judges at the Court of Appeal in London agreed Smith's sentence was unduly lenient.
Judges at the Court of Appeal in London agreed Smith's sentence was unduly lenient.

A man who brutally raped two young girls when he was a teenager has had his 'too soft' jail term increased by senior judges.

William Joseph Smith was 15 when he threatened one victim - aged just six - by holding a kitchen knife to her throat before he forced himself on her.

Within a year he had also raped a nine-year-old girl.

The 56-year-old, of Otter Hill Court, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, was only brought to justice in January, when he was found guilty of two counts of rape.

Smith, formerly of Hylton Castle in Sunderland, was jailed for six and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court in February.

But lawyers representing the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, argued his sentence was "unduly lenient" - and today it was upped to 10 years by Appeal Court judges.

They pointed out that Smith had gone on to commit further offences against children, including indecent assaults on two other young girls, and had a criminal record stretching from the 1980s to 2002.

Lady Justice Sharp, sitting at the London court with Mr Justice Andrew Baker and Judge David Farrer QC, ruled the original term was not tough enough given the serious nature of his crimes.

Despite his youth at the time and his chronic poor health now - including diabetes, lung disease and heart problems - they felt he deserved a longer jail term.

The judge concluded: "In our judgement, the total sentence in this case simply failed to reflect the seriousness of the offending.

"These were brutal and violent rapes of two very young children, causing injury to them, and in circumstances where the aggravating features included elements of abduction and detention, and the use and threat of a knife.

"The victims have suffered very long-term psychological harm."