A CHILD rapist who subjected to children to years of abuse has had his jail sentence upped to 18 years.

Carterton paedophile Anthony Pitts, 39, who was sent to prison for 12 years in June, will serve an additional year on licence.

It follows a decision by the Court of Appeal this morning that the term handed down at Oxford Crown Court for rape, indecent assault and sexual assault of a child under 13 by penetration was unduly lenient.

Government lawyers working for the Attorney General’s office appealed the sentence. They acknowledged the sentencing exercise facing Judge Michael Gledhill QC in June had been a difficult one, but said the 12-year term imposed on three counts of rape on one of his victims did not reflect the severity of Pitts’ offending and he should have imposed consecutive jail time for the assaults on his second victim.

The panel of three senior judges kept the 12-year jail term imposed by Judge Gledhill for the rape charges, but added six years on top for the sexual assault by penetration charges. Pitts will serve an additional year on licence.

Lord Justice Males told the court: “In short we agree with the submissions made on behalf of the Solicitor General that the overall sentence imposed by the judge did not reflect the totality of this offending.

“For all the reasons to which we have referred in recording those submissions made by Catherine Pattison for the Solicitor General, a sentence of 12 years overall in these circumstances was simply too short to reflect this offending against two victims over a lengthy period with the consequences for them and the damage inflicted on them during the years which have followed that offending.

“We acknowledge the offender’s personal difficulties, his emotional immaturity and his psychological difficulties set out in the report and emphasised by Mr Easthope [his barrister] on his behalf.

“But, nevertheless, we have no doubts that the sentence here was unduly lenient. In our judgement the appropriate overall sentence in this case would have been one of 18 years’ imprisonment.”

During the trial in March, jurors at Oxford Crown Court heard how Pitts had groomed and sexually abused two children from the mid-90s to mid-2000s, starting when he was around 14 years old himself. He had threatened both children, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to ensure their silence.

At a sentencing hearing in June, one victim said they had suffered years of depression and anxiety as a result of the abuse. The other victim had written a suicide note.

Ms Pattison told the Court of Appeal that consecutive sentences should have been imposed to reflect the offending against the two different victims. There was no issue taken with how the judge had applied the sentencing guidelines and come up with the starting points for the various offences.

Defending, Dean Easthope reminded the justices his client had been a child at the start of the offending, had significant learning difficulties, a low IQ and mental health problems that affected his ability to read other people.

Sentencing Pitts in June, Judge Gledhill acknowledged the rapist’s learning difficulties. But he added: “You have problems. You have learning disabilities, you went to a special needs school, your IQ is in the lowest five per cent range of the population.

“But I point out the obvious: that others in that low range of IQ do not go around sexually abusing children over a prolonged period of time, which is exactly what you did.”

Pitts, of Maidstone Road, Carterton, will remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.