PERVERT'S JAIL TERM SLASHED
PERVERTED blackmailer Keith Downer has had his jail term halved after an appeal judge ruled his original sentence much too high .
The 42-year-old, admitted eight counts of blackmail at Chichester Crown Court last November, when he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Between November 1997 and July last year Downer sent blackmail letters to four Gatwick air hostesses and one shop assistant - asking them to send him underwear and pose for sordid photographs.
Mr Justice Rougier, sitting in the appeal court, explained: He demanded that they do various sexually orientated, highly unusual and unpleasant things and threatened them with sado-masochistic violence of a sexual nature if they did not comply with his wishes.
It is sufficient to say that they were explicit and quite horrible and must have engendered in their recipients considerable fear even if they were all sensible enough to go straight to the police.
The judge said jail terms of between four and five years seemed to be the norm in blackmail cases.
But he rejected arguments that Downer, of Tadworth, Surrey, should be freed immediately to undergo treatment, ruling that the number of victims and the extended period over which the offences were committed demanded a custodial sentence.
He also highlighted comments made by the sentencing judge that a pre-sentence report concluded that Downer had a high-risk of re-offending despite evidence from medical experts.
He added: In our judgment that, in effect, was something of a misreading of the pre-sentence report.
He concluded: Having considered all the factors, not least of which is the fact that these offences were out of character and according to medical reports, committed following the breakdown of his second marriage.
We think that in all the circumstances these sentences were much too high.
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