Appeal by Essex man over sex attack plan fails

A trespasser, jailed after he admitted planning a sex attack on an 83-year-old woman with dementia, has failed in an appeal against his five-year sentence.

Keith Harrigan, 57, of Gorse Lane, Clacton, was jailed at Chelmsford Crown Court in November.

He had admitted trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Lawyers for Harrigan argued that he had been too harshly punished, but Appeal Court judges ruled that a "severe" sentence was justified for the offence.

'Gross breach'

Harrigan was caught out when the elderly woman's carer arrived at her home in Essex in March 2010 and found the widow sitting half-naked on a sofa and Harrigan was found in the bathroom.

Harrigan later admitted going to the woman's house and said that anything that had happened was "consensual".

But interviews with the victim revealed that she did not have the mental capacity to consent to any sexual activity.

Appeal Court judge Mr Justice Foskett said: "This was a gross breach of trust, committed in the home of a vulnerable elderly lady, where the appellant had no right to be.

"Any sentence for an offence of this nature must send a severe message to any person contemplating this sort of offence that a severe sentence will follow."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites