Anthony Marsh life sentence for child sex offences ruled 'unlawful'

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Anthony Marsh and Lee DavisImage source, South Yorkshire Police
Image caption,
Anthony Marsh and Lee Davis were both jailed for life at Sheffield Crown Court in December

A "predatory paedophile" who groomed boys as young as 13 on the internet has had his life sentence quashed by the court of appeal.

Anthony Marsh, 54, from Hatfield, last year admitted 34 charges including sexual activity with a child.

He was jailed for life at Sheffield Crown Court in December, along with Lee Davis, 40, of Conisbrough, who admitted 20 charges including rape.

But appeal judges ruled Marsh's life sentence was "unlawful".

Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Holroyde and Mrs Justice Andrews, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court on Tuesday, ruled that none of the offences Marsh, who is HIV positive, had committed allowed a life term to be imposed, replacing it with a 12-year sentence, with two years extended licence.

Davis' life sentence remains in place but the minimum term was lowered from 12 and a half to eight years after the court ruled he had been given insufficient credit for pleading guilty.

Each was also made subject to a sexual offences preventions order.

'Boasted on internet'

The court heard Marsh, of Menson Drive, Hatfield, and Davis, of Rowena Road, Conisbrough, who are both married, led double lives.

They used social networks such as Facebook and Bebo, as well as specialist gay websites, to befriend boys as young as 13 before meeting and sexually abusing them.

Police found a library of films hidden in the cellar of Davis' home, showing him abusing the boys.

Marsh uploaded films of abuse and shared them on the internet.

Lady Justice Rafferty said: "Marsh was HIV positive...his wife did not know.

"Nor did he use protection and, with many of the complainants, he did not explain his position.

"Usually [Marsh and Davis] passed their victims between themselves, boasting about it on the internet.

"Both were predatory dangerous paedophiles."

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