Life is 10 years

A PREDATORY paedophile who was told he would never be freed – and who has received two life sentences for raping children – could now be released after having his sentence reduced. For a second time Maurice Hogg s life means life sentence has been overt

A PREDATORY paedophile who was told he would never be freed - and who has received two life sentences for raping children - could now be released after having his sentence reduced.

For a second time Maurice Hogg's "life means life" sentence has been overturned on appeal and instead it has now been recommended that he serve a minimum of 10 years.

Five years ago, Judge Andrew Patience QC said that it was "inconceivable" that the 64-year-old, who has 14 previous convictions for sex offences against children dating from 1959, would ever be released from jail.

Last week London's Criminal Appeal Court made his release a possibility, and not for the first time.

Hogg, from St Peter's Way, Ellington, had already been given a life sentence once in 1987, but the Appeal Court reduced that sentence to 10 years. It was after he was released on that occasion that Hogg re-offended.

Along with co-accused, Jeremy Wing, who he had met in Maidstone Prison, Hogg had helped lure children to Wing's home in Orpington, Kent, which was converted into a trap for young boys.

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When officers raided the den on August 9, 2001, they found sweets, computer games, go-karts and tree-houses.

A search revealed hidden video cameras and more than 45 films, mainly showing abuse of the boys.

They were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on November 18, 2002, to whole life terms for rapes and indecent assaults, which took place over two years in Huntingdon and Orpington.

Hogg pleaded guilty to five indecent assaults on a boy under 13 and three counts of indecency with a child, and was convicted of two rapes and one more count of indecency with a child. Wing admitted two charges of rape, 12 of indecency with a child and four of making indecent pictures of children.

However, last week Mrs Justice Swift, sitting with Sir Igor Judge and Mr Justice Goldring, quashed Hogg's second whole life sentence and replaced it with a minimum term of 10 years.

She ruled it had been "wrong in principle" for Judge Patience not to set a minimum term on Hogg, thus effectively condemning him to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Allowing Hogg's appeal, Mrs Justice Swift added: "The grounds of appeal are that the life sentence was wrong in principle because a minimum term should have been imposed.

"The imposition of a life sentence is designed to protect the public from the offender whereas the minimum term is meant to reflect the appropriate amount of punishment and retribution.

"Only in a rare and exceptional case will it not be appropriate to impose a minimum term.

"Although these offences were very grave, involving as they did the abuse and corruption of young boys, it does not fall within that rare and exceptional bracket.

"A minimum term should have been imposed and we will allow this appeal, imposing a minimum term of 10 years," the judge concluded.

After 10 years Hogg would be eligible for parole, but there is no guarantee that this would be granted.

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