Convicted rapists to be barred from early release as part of crackdown

Convicted rapists are to be barred from early release as part of a crackdown on crime to be unveiled by Rishi Sunak

  • The plan is ‘nailed on’ to be included in November’s King’s Speech, sources say

Convicted rapists will be forced to serve their full sentence as part of a ‘gear change’ on crime to be unveiled by Rishi Sunak.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has been asked to draw up proposals for a change in the law which would put an end to the possibility of early release from prison for people convicted of the most serious sexual offences.

A Tory source said the plan was ‘nailed on’ to be included in the King’s Speech in November, and is likely to feature in a major speech on crime by the Prime Minister in the coming weeks.

The new push is part of a wider ‘gear change’ by No 10 which is designed to reveal ‘the real Rishi’, and which began with his dramatic plan last week to put the brakes on the rush to net zero.

He will set out more details of his pitch to voters ahead of next year’s general election in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference which begins in Manchester this weekend.

Rishi Sunak will set out more details of his pitch to voters ahead of next year’s general election in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference. Pictured: The Prime Minister at Downing Street on September 13

Koci Selama, pictured here in his police mugshot, was jailed for 36 years for the murder of Sabina Nessa. The Prime Minister announced last month he would seek to change the law to ensure that all sexually-motivated murderers receive whole life sentences

Unveiling his green gamble last Wednesday, the Prime Minister said it was ‘the first in a series of long-term decisions to deliver change’.

He added: ‘I have spent my first year as Prime Minister bringing back stability to our economy, your Government and our country. And now it is time to address the bigger, longer-term questions we face.

‘The real choice confronting us is do we want to change our country and build a better future for our children, or do we want to carry on as we are. I have made my decision – we are going to change.’

Rapist on licence attacked again… weeks after release 

Ashley Shuck (pictured) attacked two women after being released on licence

Less than a month after being released from jail on licence, a convicted rapist brazenly went on to carry out sex attacks on two women.

Ashley Shuck, 30, was released from prison in May 2017 after serving only half of his eight-year sentence for raping an 18-year-old.

Just weeks after he was freed in June that year, he went on to commit further serious offences in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

He targeted a 28-year-old early in the morning while they stayed at her friend’s home. Afterwards, he went on to attack a 77-year-old in her own home.

He then forced the elderly woman at knifepoint to drive around the county for more than two hours after the attack.

Shuck, of Worcester, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, two of sexual assault and one of kidnapping. He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum tariff of ten and a half years.

He was also made the subject of a lifetime sexual harm prevention order at Worcester Crown Court. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life.

One ally of Mr Sunak said he felt the PM’s early time as both Chancellor and prime minister had been ‘shaped by circumstances’.

‘As Chancellor he had to deal with Covid immediately; as PM he had to deal with the economic mess,’ the source said.

‘Then he had to take action on things like waiting lists, Northern Ireland and small boats legislation.

‘A lot of that is now in train and there is a chance for him to set out the long-term changes he wants to make and how we are going to get there.’

Government sources confirmed crime, education and public service reform are among the areas where Mr Sunak is drawing up plans for radical change.

The Prime Minister has also begun the process of what one source described as ‘getting the barnacles off the boat’ ahead of the next election by ditching contentious measures.

A proposed ban on importing hunting trophies was quietly dropped last week. A ban on so-called gay conversion therapy is also set to be shelved following a backlash about the potential ‘unintended consequences’ for parents and teachers dealing with trans children.

Mr Sunak is still considering whether to amend Labour’s Equality Act in order to enable tougher guidance for schools on banning so-called ‘social transitioning’ to a new gender.

But insiders believe that with time running out ahead of the next election, it is more likely to become a manifesto promise. The new approach on crime is expected to include a major focus on tackling violence against women and girls.

Mr Sunak announced last month that he will change the law to ensure that all sexually-motivated murderers receive whole life sentences.

The move followed the murders of Zara Aleena and Sabina Nessa, whose killers got life with a minimum of 38 and 36 years respectively. The PM said at the time he ‘shared the public’s horror at the cruelty of crimes we have seen recently’.

‘People rightly expect that, in the most serious cases, there should be a guarantee that life will mean life. They expect honesty in sentencing,’ he added.

Now Mr Sunak is planning a further change in the law designed to make rapists serve longer in prison.

Despite public concern, most prisoners are automatically released after serving just half their sentences.

Ministry of Justice figures show that since 2016, 112 sex attackers have gone on to commit further serious offences while released early on licence.

In 2017, Worcestershire rapist Ashley Shuck was convicted of the rape and kidnap of an elderly woman and the sexual assault of another woman just weeks after being released halfway through an eight-year sentence for a previous rape.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has been asked to draw up proposals for a change in the law. Pictured: Mr Chalk outside the Cabinet Office on September 12

Last year’s Police, Crime and Courts Act ended automatic early release for all sexual offences that carry a maximum life sentence, including rape and sexual assault of a child aged under 13.

Those given a sentence of four years or more are now required to serve at least two-thirds of it before being considered for release. But a Government insider confirmed that will now go further by ending early release for the most serious sexual criminals.

The average prison sentence for rape in 2022 was ten and a half years, the latest figures show – up from just over eight years in 2010.

This includes both attackers who received life sentences with a minimum jail term and those who got ‘determinate’ sentences which allow for early release.

The Prime Minister is expected to put tackling crime at the centre of the King’s Speech in November.

Ministers have come under pressure over the issue from Labour, particularly on rape, where only 1.6 per cent of cases reported result in someone being charged. But senior Tories believe that Labour are vulnerable on crime.

Tory researchers have been combing through Sir Keir Starmer’s record as director of public prosecutions for evidence of a soft approach which could be deployed during the election campaign.

A Government source said a final decision on which measures will be included in the King’s Speech on November 7 will not be made until later in the autumn.

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