08:00 Saturday 10 November 2012

Teen rapist's appeal fails

Written byPETER RICHARDSON

A TEENAGE gipsy, locked up for raping and beating a 15-year-old girl, has failed in an Appeal Court bid to clear his name.

Hopey Taylor was handed a 16-year extended jail term, made up of 12 years custody and a four-year extended licence period, at Derby Crown Court in September last year.

The 19-year-old, of Burton Road, Swadlincote, previously admitted seven counts of rape and three of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but challenged his convictions at London’s Criminal Appeal Court.

He claimed he only pleaded guilty because he was put under pressure by his lawyers — but his appeal bid was rejected by three of the country’s top judges.

The court heard Taylor repeatedly forced his victim to have sex with him, threatening her with a knife on one occasion.

He also hit her a number of times and was arrested after beating the girl so badly he fractured her cheekbone.

Taylor denied the offences and his trial started in August 2011, but he entered guilty pleas after the victim had given evidence.

However, arguing his convictions were ‘unsafe’, he claimed he had put under ‘extreme pressure’ to admit his guilt.

But, dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Mitting said it was clear the ‘most significant factor’ in his decision to change his pleas was the victim’s arrival at court, ready to give her evidence.

The judge, sitting with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, added: “Her arrival at court must have made it clear to him that his denials were no longer sustainable.”

The court heard Taylor may now launch an appeal against his sentence.

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