A former plumber has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years for a brutal sex attack and stashing a sawn-off shotgun.
But Judge Jacqueline Beech slammed prosecution lawyers for an error which meant she was unable to impose an even harsher sentence or officially brand Samuel Taylor as “dangerous.”
Taylor, 28, of Navigation Way, Ashton, Preston appeared for sentence at Preston Crown Court after pleading guilty to committing a serious sexual assault on a woman, who suffered a nervous breakdown following the attack, and also to possessing a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition.
He claimed he had been looking after the weapon for another man when he buried it in woodland off Howick Cross Lane, Penwortham.
Judge Beech told him: “You should think yourself lucky. I have found it (sentencing) particularly difficult because of the basis of plea accepted by the prosecution. It has inhibited the court from proper sentencing.
“Let me make it clear, if this had gone to trial the court would have had no hesitation in finding you to be a dangerous offender.
“The court does think that you are probably dangerous, but I can’t apply the dangerous criteria to you.”
The court heard Taylor brutalised his victim with extreme sexual demands and, when she told him to stop, he refused. He used intimidation, threats of violence and actual violence to get his way. He even held a nail gun to his victim’s head.
Judge Beech said the victim was ‘petrified.’ She added. “She has lost her self-esteem, and feels worthless. She had a nervous breakdown and has required counselling. Yet you showed no remorse at all for your conduct to her.”
On the charge of possessing the shotgun, the court heard Taylor had buried it wrapped in a duffle bag, but it was found after a friend told police where to look.
The former plumber claimed he was only “stashing” it for another man.
Judge Beech told Taylor unlawful possession of a firearm could not be tolerated, particularly a sawn-off shotgun which could not be used for any lawful purpose.
She sentenced Taylor to three years for the sexual assault and five-and-a-half years for possession the shotgun. “You will serve half of that in custody and then you will be released on licence,” she added. He will be put on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.