Two serial rapists with life sentences will have the minimum time they must spend in prison extended from 30 to 40 years, the High Court has ruled.
Joseph McCann, 35, was jailed last year at the Old Bailey for 37 offences involving 11 women and children.
Reynhard Sinaga, 37, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court in January for 159 offences against 48 men.
The attorney general referred them to the Court of Appeal, arguing the men should have received whole life orders.
A whole life order – meaning a life sentence with no minimum term – has never been imposed in a non-homicide case. It is usually reserved for certain types of murders, such as those involving serial murder, child abduction or a terrorist motive.
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Five senior judges – including the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Dame Victoria Sharp – heard the appeal in October at the High Court in London.
Their judgement, published on Friday, says “we are thus unable to accept the submission” that two offenders should have received a whole life tariff.
But, they add, in the “collective experience of this court the cases of McCann and Sinaga, albeit very different on their individual facts, come within the category of the most serious cases involving a campaign of rape to have been tried in England and Wales.”
The judgement then alters the minimum terms for McCann and Sinaga to 40 years each, saying the “multiple life sentences remain and whether either is in fact ever released will depend upon the assessment of risk by the Parole Board at the end of the minimum terms”.
The ruling states that “neither man has shown any remorse and the long-term psychological damage for at least some of the victims in both trials is profound and will only be understood in the years to come”.
The list of offenders with a whole-life term includes serial killers Rosemary West and Stephen Port.
As of June this year there were 63 whole-life prisoners and an additional three life prisoners being treated in secure hospitals.