Appeal court judges reject claims that eight year sentence imposed on Fenland man who raped a 13 year old girl was ‘unsafe’

A PREDATORY painter from Fenland- who raped a 13-year-old girl when he was decorating her mother’s house - has had his claims he was wrongly convicted thrown out by top judges.

Leroy Anthony Francis, 40, of Claremont Road, Wisbech, was jailed for eight years at Croydon Crown Court in April 2009 after he was found guilty of rape.

He claimed the conviction was “unsafe” because the jury were not told enough about his young victim’s psychological history. But three senior judges, sitting at the Court of Appeal, rejected his claims and upheld the jury’s verdict.

Mr Justice Simon told the court Francis had been working at a house in London in 2006 when the attack happened.

He said the mother and daughter were usually out while workmen decorated the house, but on one occasion the 13-year-old came home from school early.

Francis walked into her bedroom and showed her his penis. He asked if he could “put it in her” because it was his birthday, and when the girl refused, Francis raped her.

The girl was too scared to tell anyone, but almost a year later she confided in a friend and later told her mother about her ordeal.

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Despite being identified in a police ID parade, Francis denied the offence, saying another workman must have carried out the sex attack.

In a letter, he asked Appeal Court judges to quash his conviction, saying the jury should have been shown psychological reports on the victim dating from around the time the crime took place.

However, Mr Justice Simon, sitting with Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Lindblom, said the jury had ample evidence before them and upheld the guilty verdict.

He said examination of further psychological evidence would have been “improperly broad” and would have “infringed the girl’s right to privacy”.

DET Constable Nicki Buckle, of Croydon Police, said after the original verdict was announced that “Francis showed no remorse for his crime even after more than two years, resulting in the victim having to attend court and give evidence.

“No young girl should be subjected to such an ordeal, especially in her own home. “Francis was in a position of trust in that home and he abused it. The family paid him to decorate their home and he repaid them in the most awful way.”

Since the trial the girl has told how she felt a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and as able to continue with her studies.

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