A Chorley bodybuilder facing life in jail for the brutal rape of a woman in her own home is appealing against his sentence – in a case which will define how some of the most dangerous offenders are punished.
Anthony Phillips, 38, had only recently been released from another prison sentence when he forced himself upon his victim, raping her and beating her up.
The brutal attack at the woman’s Chorley home in September last year left her nursing 50 separate injuries.
Previously convicted of rape in 1998, “dangerous” Phillips was handed a life sentence for the second rape at Preston Crown Court in April.
But, appearing via a video link, the heavily muscled rapist’s case was back in court as his lawyers launched an appeal against the life sentence.
His barrister Ben Hargreaves told the country’s most senior judge, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, that the case was not so serious that it justified life in prison.
The appeal was heard with seven others in a test case, which will decide how the public should be protected from dangerous criminals in the absence of the old sentence of imprisonment for public protection, abolished last year.
Accepting the offence was serious and aggravated by the 1998 conviction, Mr Hargreaves said discretionary life sentences should be passed only in cases of the “utmost gravity”.
“Although grave, this is not one of the utmost gravity,” he told Lord Thomas, sitting at the Court of Appeal today with Mr Justice Mitting and Mrs Justice Thirlwall. He said angry behaviour since Phillips was jailed had been down to the shock of the life sentence.
“Clearly he has found it difficult after this sentence.
“It was a sentence he wasn’t expecting.
“He would, of course, find it difficult to deal with,” said the barrister.
Given the importance of the case for the sentencing of future offenders, Lord Thomas reserved his judgment on Phillips’ appeal until a later date.