PREDATOR: After pleading guilty to 21 counts of rape, Andrew James Benn was jailed for a maximum of 40 years in Newcastle District Court. He has lodged an intention to appeal against the severity of the sentence to the CCA.SADISTIC rapist Andrew James Benn intends to appeal against the length of his maximum 40-year jail term, the Newcastle Herald can reveal.
Benn, 29, who raped or sexually assaulted 14 young women and teenage girls who he met through Facebook, Tinder or Snapchat between 2012 and 2017, filed a notice of intention to appeal against the severity of his jail term to the Court of Criminal Appeal on August 28, less than two weeks after he was jailed for at least 30 years in Newcastle District Court.
The appeal does not yet have a hearing date in the Supreme Court.
Fundamentally, Benn’s defence, led by solicitor John Anthony, will have to prove the sentence was “manifestly excessive” in order to reduce his jail term.
Benn is the Hunter’s worst serial rapist and will have spent more than half his life behind bars when, at the age of 57, he first becomes eligible for parole in 2047.
During Benn’s sentencing on August 16, Judge Ellis read out his “indicative sentences” for each of the 33 counts, including 21 counts of rape, which he said, if imposed, would have totaled an “American Style number” of 169-and-a-half years in jail.
Instead, Judge Ellis imposed an aggregate sentence of 40 years, with a non-parole period of 30 years.
It is believed to be longest sentence that Judge Ellis, the experienced Chief Judge of Newcastle’s District Court, has ordered during his time on the bench.
The public gallery in Newcastle District Court was packed with victims and their supporters as Judge Ellis read his lengthy judgement which detailed Benn’s depraved acts, which included repeatedly raping women, forcing himself on girls using “extreme violence”, sex with girls as young as 15, blackmailing and threatening victims that the “Hells Angels” would “make them disappear” if they went to police and laughing in the face of desperate and crying victims. “The treatment of the many victims was nothing short of despicable,” Judge Ellis said. “His conduct over the four-year period was evil.He left a path of emotional and physical damage for the victims.The sentence I impose is unlikely to the mitigate the harm for the victims, but hopefully it provides some sort of closure.”
In interviews with theHerald six of the women revealed the profound impact the attacks had on them and encouraged other women who are the victims of rape or sexual assault to come forward and speak out.
The women who spoke to the Herald described the effects Benn’s attacks had on them, which included suffering PTSD, living in “constant fear”, losing or having to leave their jobs and their homes, moving out of the Hunter andcontemplating or attempting suicide.