Sex attacker has sentence increased
A convicted rapist who carried out a "brutal" sex attack on a woman within weeks of arriving in the UK from Lithuania has had his "unduly lenient" prison term overturned and replaced with a life sentence by leading judges.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and two other judges in London increased the original sentence imposed in the case of Gintas Burinskas, 37, at Northampton Crown Court last April.
Burinskas, who arrived in the UK in November 2012 following his release from prison in Lithuania after serving a 10-year prison sentence for rape, carried out an attack on a 31-year-old woman in the early hours of December 26, 2012 as she was walking alone along a street in Northampton.
He pleaded guilty to a count of rape and one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent against his victim and was handed an extended sentence - made up of a custodial period of seven years and an extended licence period of three years.
Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Mitting and Mrs Justice Thirlwall agreed with submissions made on behalf of Attorney General Dominic Grieve that the sentence was unduly lenient.
Today, Lord Thomas announced that the court had quashed the original sentence, replacing it with a life sentence with a minimum term of six years.
He said: "This was a very serious, sustained, brutal attack by a very dangerous man on a vulnerable woman at night."
An extended sentence which required his release at the end of the custodial term "does not adequately protect the public".
Lord Thomas said: "We are satisfied that the seriousness of this offence is such as to justify the imposition of a sentence of life imprisonment."
Giving details of the offences, Lord Thomas said Burinskas, who was released from prison in Lithuania on August 7, 2012, walked up behind his victim and grabbed her round the throat.
The judge said: "He put his hands around her neck and squeezed her throat. She fought him, and shouted, but he increased the pressure on her throat and she lost consciousness.
"She came to and started shouting again. The offender squeezed her throat again and she lost consciousness for a second time. When she next regained consciousness she was on the ground in an area surrounded by trees and bushes."
As she tried to push him off "he hit her repeatedly to the face and grabbed her by the throat yet again", said Lord Thomas.
During the attack she pleaded with him to stop, and after she tried to run away he caught her and kicked her to the ground.
Lord Thomas added: "He then kicked her to the head some four or five times, he stamped on her body and punched her to the stomach. He then dragged her across the road and tipped alcohol over her."
He said the victim suffered fractures to her jaw and lost two teeth. Surgery was needed for the damage to her jaw and face.
The woman was "devastated" by the incident and thought "she was going to die".
After the ruling at the Court of Appeal, Solicitor General Oliver Heald said: " This was a particularly vicious, prolonged and totally unprovoked attack where the victim feared for her life. When she tried to escape, she was brutally beaten.
"I asked the Court of Appeal to look at the sentence imposed in this case as I felt the original sentence was too low, given that Burinskas had only recently been released from a 10-year sentence of imprisonment for a rape committed in his native Lithuania.
"The Court of Appeal in its judgment has acknowledged that the extended sentence originally imposed did not adequately protect the public and that Burinskas is a very dangerous criminal.
"To protect the public the court has quashed the original sentence and substituted it with a sentence of life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 6 years."