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A serial sex attacker who stalked his victims through Tinder has managed to get his sentence slashed by five years after an appeal court found there had been an error in his original trial.
Andrew James Benn raped and indecently assaulted 14 young women between September 2012 and January 2017.
Based in the Hunter region of New South Wales in Australia, Benn had targeted and befriended local women through Tinder and other social media.
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He groomed one 17-year-old girl who told him she had never had a boyfriend. He arranged to meet up with the girl, and raped her twice.
Benn told another one of his victims not to go to the police, because he was a member of a motorcycle gang and knew people that could “make her disappear”.
Benn was between 23 and 27 when he committed the offences against victims aged between 15 and 28, reports 9News.
He pleaded guilty to 33 charges including 21 counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
At his trial, District Court Judge Roy Ellis described his catalogue of crimes as "depraved", "despicable" and “evil” and sentenced him to 40 years behind bars and barred him from seeking parole for 30 years.
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But the “crushing” sentence was disputed in an appeal Benn launched in March 2022, and Justice Fabian Gleeson has now proposed a revised sentence of 35 years with a non-parole period of 26 years and three months.
Justices Natalie Adams and Mark Ierace agreed with the decision, which was published by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday (February 20).
Justice Adams said: ”An offender sentenced to a lengthy term of imprisonment may well consider the sentence to be 'crushing' but in many cases a long sentence may be the proportionate response to the circumstances of that case.
She added that it was "pertinent to note" that there was no issue with Benn's sentencing for offences against the 14 victims, only with the "transparency" of the decision-making.
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