'Sadistic' child rapist could have 22 year prison sentence reduced
- Credit: Suffolk Police
A woman who subjected two children to an "abhorrent campaign of abuse" could have her prison sentence reduced.
Rachel Burrows was jailed for 22 years at Ipswich Crown Court in April 2021 after admitting serious charges of sexual abuse of a child under 10, including rape, alongside Kevin Prewitt.
Burrows, of Harris Avenue, Lowestoft, also admitted multiple serious sex abuse of a child charges, three offences of taking indecent images of children, and an offence of inciting or causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
The 31-year-old appeared at the Court of Appeal on Thursday, April 28, to challenge her sentence, which includes an extended sentence of 30 years.
It comes after the Crown Prosecution Service launched an internal inquiry into expert forensic psychiatrist Dr David Ho who had told Ipswich Judge Rupert Overbury in a report he believed Burrows to be dangerous.
Warwick Aleeson, representing Burrows at the Court of Appeal, said he was concerned Dr Ho's report had influenced the judge's decision, despite having not personally assessed Burrows.
He added Dr Ho had not read medical reports about Burrows, which said she had a mild learning disability, and disregarded an autism diagnosis made when she was 12.
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Prosecutor Joanne Eley confirmed Dr Ho had self-referred to the General Medical Council for review.
Lord Justice Fulford, vice president of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, said: "We have significant concerns about the state of the expert evidence in this case.
"There were two central issues which needed to be assessed on sentence. First, her culpability as judged by her suggested vulnerabilities and personal difficulties. And second the extent to which she is dangerous.
"The first report addressed both of these in detail and provided an assessment which was in the appellant's favour.
"He suggested, in his opinion, culpability was reduced on account of her long-standing diagnosis of a mild learning disability and autism, along with depression.
"He additionally considered her to be extremely vulnerable, especially as someone who struggles to have the cognitive ability or social skills to 'defend her own autonomy', particularly if confronted by unscrupulous individuals seeking to take advantage of her.
"She is also suggestable and would struggle to articulate counter arguments.
"Dr Ho, instructed by the Crown, took an opposing view on both issues. However, he had not seen her, or her medical records.
"Dr Ho had, without assessing her or reading these records, seemingly dismissed these sources of information without providing a reason.
"We are concerned as to whether his views are of any material value to the court."
Lord Justice Fulford adjourned the case to a later date, adding: "Although we have expressed clear unhappiness and reasonably strong criticism of Dr Ho's report, that does not necessarily mean that the door has been opened to a successful appeal.
Police were called to Prewitt's Myrtle Road home in Lowestoft in April 2020 when a 10-second indecent film and messages on his phone were discovered.
The pair were in a relationship and Ms Eley told the court police attended both homes and seized mobile phones and tablets and other items used in the images and videos.
Officers also found a Skype conversation between the pair from January 2020 until the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown discussing their plans, while examination of the videos found the victims "sobbing and whimpering."
A psychological report found the victims were both likely to develop complex PTSD.
Prewitt, 38 also admitted a further three offences of making indecent images of children, and two offences of inciting or causing child exploitation.
Ipswich Crown Court had heard Justin Rivett, mitigating for Burrows, say his client had a low IQ and was "besotted" with Prewitt, but was "remorseful" for her actions.
Sentencing the pair, Judge Overbury said: "What the pair of you did was beyond depraved and despicable. It was inhuman and sadistic.
"If your families have any sense they will disown you both because neither of you deserve a place in society until you have paid a high price for your actions."