Autistic sex offender fails in appeal against sentence

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A ‘GENTLE and quiet’ autistic youth from Doncaster who had forbidden sex with a 12-year-old girl has failed to persuade top judges to free him on appeal.

Michael Paul Holmes, aged 20, of St John’s Road, Edlington, was “emotionally younger than his years” when, at the age of 18, he had sex with the girl after meeting her at a swimming pool.

He was sentenced to three years’ detention in May of this year, after pleading guilty to a charge of rape when he appeared at Doncaster Crown Court.

Although the sexual intercourse was consensual the offence was classed as rape because of the girl’s age.

Mr Justice Spencer and Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, heard his lawyers plead for mercy, and claim he may not have known how old the girl was because of his condition.

The court heard the offence was discovered when the girl’s mother interrogated her mobile phone and found a message from Holmes telling her she was “good in bed”.

Holmes’ lawyers said he had “comprehensive vulnerabilities”, adding: “It is credible that he wouldn’t have known or made connections around the girl’s age.”

It was also submitted that he ought to be freed and given a community sentence because reports showed he was “lonely” and depressed behind bars.

But, despite saying it was “a very difficult case”, Mr Justice Spencer dismissed the appeal, saying: “The sentencing judge paid particular attention to his disabilities and passed a sentence well below the guideline.

“She was entitled to pass a sentence of the length she did.”