Convicted rapist given life sentence by appeal court judge who said 10-year term was “unduly lenient”

Gintas Burinskas
Gintas Burinskas

A convicted rapist who carried out a “brutal” sex attack on a woman within weeks of arriving in Northampton from Lithuania has had his “unduly lenient” prison term overturned and replaced with a life sentence after a Court of Appeal hearing.

Gintas Burinskas, aged 37, was sentenced to 10 years in jail at Northampton Crown Court last April after he pleaded guilty to charges of rape and grievous bodily harm relating to a brutal attack on a Northampton woman in the early hours of Boxing Day 2012.

The court heard that Burinskas left the woman with a fractured jaw after he kicked and punched her during the attack near Black Lion Hill in the town centre.

Despite the fact Burinskas had already been given a 10-year sentence for a rape committed in his home country four months before he came to Northampton, Judge Rupert Mayo did not give him a longer sentence for the rape he carried out in the UK.

Judge Mayo sentenced Burinskas to a custodial period of seven years and an extended licence period of three years.

However, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas and two other judges in London have increased the original sentence to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of six years.

Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Mitting and Mrs Justice Thirlwall agreed with submissions made on behalf of Attorney General Dominic Grieve that the sentence was unduly lenient.

Lord Thomas said the rape was a “very serious, sustained, brutal attack by a very dangerous man on a vulnerable woman at night”.

An extended sentence which required his release at the end of the custodial term “does not adequately protect the public”, he said.

Lord Thomas said the seriousness of the offence justified imposing a life sentence.

Conservative MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis, who criticised the lenient sentence given to Burinskas last year, said this case had proved that the appeal system worked.

He said: “The original sentence in this case was far too low at the Crown Prosecution Service was right to appeal it.

“The Attorney General was right to have accepted the appeal and the Lord Chief Justice was completely correct to increase the sentence.

“This was a horrific offence that Gintas Burinskas committed and was his second offence of rape. I’m pleased to see the system has worked in this case.”

The Solicitor General, Oliver Heald QC MP who referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal last year said: “This was a particularly vicious, prolonged and totally unprovoked attack where the victim feared for her life. When she tried to escape she was brutally beaten.

“I asked the Court of Appeal to look at the sentence imposed in this case as I felt the original sentence was too low, given that Burinskas had only recently been released from a 10 year sentence of imprisonment for a rape committed in his native Lithuania.

“The Court of Appeal in its judgment has acknowledged that the extended sentence originally imposed did not adequately protect the public and that Burinskas is a very dangerous criminal.

“To protect the public the Court has quashed the original sentence and substituted it with a sentence of Life imprisonment, with a minimum term of six years.”