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Appeal failure for man who raped a girl in High Wycombe
A RAPIST who tried to have his sentence cut for naming his accomplice in the attack has failed in his appeal.
Geoffrey Stoneham escaped justice for nearly 30 years and was jailed for eight years in 2009 for the brutal rape of a 17-year-old girl in High Wycombe in 1980.
Lawyers acting for the 66-year-old, of Walnut Way, Swanley, told London's Criminal Appeal Court he should have his sentence reduced because he named a second man who raped the same girl.
But his appeal was yesterday dismissed by top judges, who said his decision to reveal the other rapist was not motivated by remorse and only came after he had already been sentenced.
Stoneham pleaded guilty to the offence in October 2009 - changing his mind on what was due to be the first day of a trial, having earlier denied the charge - but kept the identity of his accomplice, 63-year-old Norman Stanley, secret until January the following year.
The court heard that while giving a statement to police, Stoneham claimed he played a 'secondary' role in the crime and repeatedly referred to the incident as a 'so-called rape' - despite previously having declared his guilt.
In turn Stanley, of Great Billington, Bedfordshire, claimed he only became involved because he was put under duress by Stoneham.
However, the jury at his trial disbelieved his story and he was jailed for nine years after being convicted of rape at Aylesbury Crown Court in July 2010.
Stoneham's lawyers urged the Appeal Court judges to reduce his jail term, in light of the assistance he gave the prosecution in bringing Stanley to justice.
But, dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Pitchford said the court could not - three years later - intervene and treat him as though he had given the information before his sentence.
The judge said even if he had been willing to help as soon as he was arrested, there would have been no reason to reduce his jail term.
He added: "He was clearly not motivated by remorse or by any desire to tell the truth but by a wish to put the blame on Stanley."
The two men raped their 17-year-old victim in Micklefield Road in April 1980, the court heard.
As she was returning from the cinema with her boyfriend, she passed Stoneham, who then grabbed her from behind and thrust a pointed article into her back - which she believed was a knife.
He dragged her up a railway embankment, where Stanley was waiting, and the pair took it in turns to rape her before leaving and telling her they would kill her if she moved before five minutes was up.
The terrified victim gathered up her clothes and ran home before reporting the incident to police.
Her attackers remained at large until a cold case review in 2008, during which DNA samples taken at the time were found to be a match for Stoneham.
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