South West Wales

Milford Haven sex sentence doubled day before release

Swansea Crown Court
Image caption Michael McGuire was originally sentenced by a judge at Swansea Crown Court

A man who carried out a series of sex attacks on young girls in Pembrokeshire during the 1980s has had his prison sentence more than doubled.

Michael McGuire, 63, of Milford Haven, was due to be released on Thursday after being jailed for a year.

But Attorney General, Dominic Grieve felt the sentence was too short and referred the case to the Appeal Court.

Three judges agreed and increased his sentence to two-and-a-half years, so he will spend another year in jail.

McGuire was originally sentenced by a judge in Swansea Crown Court in August after he was found guilty of a spate of sexual assaults on girls under 16.

The court heard McGuire, who was in his 30s at the time, had targeted two young girls.

The victims, now women in the 30s and 40s, contacted police in 2008 and McGuire, a retired scaffolder, was arrested later that year.

He denied his victims' accusations, and continues to claim he was wrongly convicted.

"Unduly lenient"

The appeal court heard one of McGuire's victims said he had "destroyed her life".

The other woman said she had difficulty forming relationships because of what he did to her, and had been left with anger management problems.

Crispin Aylett, representing Mr Grieve, told the court the maximum sentence for the offences was five years and McGuire's 12-month term was "unduly lenient".

He said the crimes were particularly grave because the "pattern of offending" got more serious as McGuire "gained confidence".

Dyfed Thomas, representing McGuire, said the sentence was lenient, but not unduly so, considering the amount of time that had passed since the offences, and McGuire's previous good character.

Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mrs Justice Dobbs, criticised the delays in bringing McGuire to justice once the victims had contacted the police.

"This was a simple case, and for the complainants and the offender it was important it proceeded quickly," he said.

However, the judges agreed that the one-year jail term was too short.

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