Surrey

Redhill osteopath Mark Piraino's sentence increased

An osteopath who sexually assaulted five male patients has had his "unduly lenient" 18-month jail term increased to four years by the Court of Appeal.

Mark Piraino, 40, from Redhill, Surrey, was originally sentenced by a judge at Guildford Crown Court in February.

He was convicted following a trial in which jurors were told that two of the victims were aged 13 and 15.

His prison term was increased by three appeal judges after a plea from the Solicitor General.

Oliver Heald, the Conservative MP for North East Hertfordshire, appeared in person to ask the Court of Appeal to increase the sentence.

'Preying on boys'

Speaking after the hearing, he said: "I felt the original sentence didn't reflect the number of victims, period of offending or the appalling breach of trust.

"I am pleased the court agreed with me."

Lady Justice Hallett, who headed the panel of judges, said Piraino, whose oldest victim was 31, "carried on offending" until he was "preying on quite young boys".

She said appeal judges decided to impose a four-year term after concluding that the 18-month sentence for offences committed over a 12-year period was "not simply merciful" but "unduly lenient".

"We have a duty to the individual complainants and to patients or clients up and down the country who are entitled to trust that healthcare professionals behave appropriately when they are at their most vulnerable," Lady Justice Hallett said.

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