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Shamed ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist Ben Leapman formerly Eynsford near Dartford jailed for 'degrading' rape

An award-winning journalist whose rape of a woman "humiliated and degraded" her has had his sentence increased.

Ben Leapman's jail term was raised to 10 years by the Court of Appeal, after it decided the original seven-year sentence was unduly lenient.

At the time of his original sentencing, a Maidstone Crown Court judge told Ben Leapman, who helped to expose the scandal of MPs fiddling their expenses, he had become obsessed with an unnatural form of sex.

Shamed ex-journalist Ben Leapman has been jailed for seven years
Shamed ex-journalist Ben Leapman has been jailed for seven years

"You were seeking to have aggressive, violent sex, forcing yourself on her," said Judge Martin Joy.

"You were interested in inflicting pain on her. You were acting in a monstrous way."

Leapman, formerly of Eynsford, near Dartford, had previously been spared prison for downloading child sex abuse images and indulging in sordid chatroom conversations.

The 44-year-old former deputy news editor of the Sunday Telegraph was convicted in July of one specimen rape charge by an 11-1 majority and acquitted of two others.

Cambridge-educated Leapman denied all three charges and still maintains his innocence.

But the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, referred the case to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: "I am pleased to note that Benjamin Leapman’s term of imprisonment has been increased to 10 years.

“I asked the Court of Appeal to revisit this case as I felt original sentence failed to reflect the seriousness of the offending.”

Ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist Ben Leapman was convicted of rape. Picture: Mike Gunnill
Ex-Sunday Telegraph journalist Ben Leapman was convicted of rape. Picture: Mike Gunnill

During the original crown court case, the victim told the jury: "I would say to him: 'No, really, can you not do that?' He would ignore me and continue. I would try to shrug him off, push him away."

She said of Leapman performing an "unnatural" sex act: "I would be shouting: 'It really seriously hurts. Can you just stop.'

"I was becoming more scared of him. He had a very crazed look on his face, like he was focused on one thing - on his own satisfaction, his own gratification, almost like he was out of control. He would talk to me in a horrible way."

Leapman's QC Ian Bourne said it was a difficult sentencing exercise. He submitted there was no evidence of severe psychological or physical harm.

"He realises he will be going to prison for some time," he said.

"He has been in custody since July 11 and has become familiar with what the prison regime involves. He doesn't accept the jury's single verdict."

But Judge Joy said Leapman, of Aldebert Terrace, South Lambeth, south London, was convicted on overwhelming evidence.

An extremely long victim impact statement was informative about the effect of his criminal behaviour, he added.

Judge Martin Joy
Judge Martin Joy

Wearing a grey suit and pink tie, Leapman stared ahead as the judge told him: "The fact is you humiliated her and caused her considerable distress - psychological harm and pain and loss of her dignity, her self-worth and self-esteem.

"You became obsessed with sexual abuse of her. Chatlogs and evidence indicated these matters had become out of control, and you yourself recognise that.

"You knew you were obsessed with the sexual abuse of her, and it was depraved conduct. She was forced to suffer pain in silence.

"You were a distinguished man in your profession."

A sexual offences prevention order was also made.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Leapman was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment - suspended for 12 months - in August last year for four offences of making indecent photos of a child and four of publishing an obscene article.

He was ordered to complete an internet sex offender course.

His lawyer had asserted that Leapman "single-handedly uncovering the scandal that hit Westminster" and "rocked the country" took its toll on him and he sought "pressure release" by getting involved in a fantasy world.

Charles Danniells-Smith added Leapman had lost everything, including his glittering career.

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