Rapist in bid to get jail term cut

Michael Preston
Michael Preston

A CONVICTED rapist who was jailed indefinitely has launched a legal bid that could see his sentence slashed.

Michael Preston, 32, was jailed in June for public protection at Teesside Crown Court for the vicious rape and attack of a woman in a rail depot.

The judge said at the time that he could not imagine a more serious set of offences and warned Preston he would only be released when he is no longer deemed dangerous which may be never.

He must serve a minimum of six-and-a-half years before being considered for parole.

But Preston, formerly of Lizard Walk, Hartlepool, is seeking to challenge the grounds on which he was jailed for public protection.

He claims details of previous convictions, that were taken into account by the judge at sentence, including one for attempted robbery, were inaccurate.

Preston received 30 months youth detention in August 1999 for the attempted robbery of an off licence.

Christopher Attwooll, prosecuting, said records indicated Preston brandished a knife during the incident and a bystander suffered a cut finger.

But Preston says he was not sentenced for using a knife.

He was back in court yesterday when the issue was raised with the sentencing judge, Judge Michael Taylor.

Brian Russell, defending, said: “In deciding Mr Preston did pose a significant threat of harm to the public by the commission of further specified offences, was that could be demonstrated by the fact he was waving a knife during the course of a robbery.”

Judge Taylor said he could not reconsider the case yesterday because a copy of his sentencing comments were not available and more investigation into Preston’s previous convictions were needed.

Due to time constraints, Judge Taylor said the matter would have to go to the Court of Appeal in London.

He told Mr Russell: “I’m not going to say it would have made a difference, I don’t know.

“If it turns out you are correct I would hope the Court of Appeal may consider the position.”