Rapist who attacked drunken man appeals sentence

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A ‘PREDATOR’ who raped another man after finding him slumped drunk on the street has won a cut to his jail term.

Joseph Ripley, aged 22, went out ‘trawling the streets’ of Rotherham for sex with other men – and spotted his victim slumped in a doorway.

He was locked up indefinitely for public protection – a sentence almost identical to a life term – at Sheffield Crown Court last September, after pleading guilty to two rapes and two counts of assault.

Now, however, top judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court have overturned that sentence and replaced it with an eight-year jail term, plus four years of extended licence.

The court heard Ripley found his 21-year-old victim, woke him from his drunken stupor and walked with him under the pretence he was going to help him get a taxi home.

Instead he raped him on a bench in a pedestrianised area, and again over a nearby church wall.

Both attacks were captured on CCTV and Ripley was arrested shortly after, initially on suspicion of outraging public decency. It soon became clear matters were much more serious.

His victim was so drunk he was unaware of the attack until he sobered up in a specialist sexual assault referral centre at Rotherham Hospital.

Lawyers for Ripley, of Royds Close Crescent, Thrybergh, tried to persuade the court he ought not to have been classed as a ‘dangerous offender’.

But the submission was rejected by Mr Justice Wyn Williams, who said the fact his lifestyle involved ‘trawling the streets at night looking for men with whom to engage in sexual activity’ meant there was a real risk of him reoffending.

But allowing the appeal, Lord Justice Pitchford added Ripley’s remorse and his clean previous record meant he didn’t deserve an indefinite sentence.