Outrage as judge slashes jail term for Tring sex attacker who posed as Hemel Hempstead taxi-driver to lure victim into his car

Mashain Pitchei, 45, of Rosebery Way in Tring, had his sexual assault prison sentence reduced.
Mashain Pitchei, 45, of Rosebery Way in Tring, had his sexual assault prison sentence reduced.

The CCTV operator who helped catch a sex attacker says the decision to cut his prison term is ‘disgusting’.

Maschain Pitchei, 45, of Rosebery Way, Tring, waited in a queue of taxis in Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, to lure a 20-year-old woman into his car in October last year.

But little did he know that he was being tracked by eagle-eyed CCTV operator Israr Ali, who watched him take her to a secluded spot in nearby Piccotts End Road.

The silver Ford Focus stopped and the lights were switched off, so Mr Ali called the police.

His actions, which won him one of the Gazette’s Pride in Dacorum awards, landed bogus taxi-driver Pitchei four years in prison, followed by a extended five-year licence period.

But that sentence was cut to just two years and eight months after a hearing at the Court of Appeal on Friday.

The five-year licence period – in which Pitchei would have been supervised – has now been scrapped and he will be allowed out on licence after just 16 months.

Mr Ali said: “It is pretty disgusting, to be honest. It does not make you feel good about how the criminal justice system works. It is pathetic.”

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning yesterday told the Gazette that he would be writing that day to the Attorney General to ask for Pitchei’s reduced sentence to be reconsidered.

Mr Penning said: “It is ridiculously lenient and an insult to his victim.

“What sort of message does that send out if you assault someone in this barbaric way and your sentence gets reduced to this?”

He said the justice system has to be challenged at times.

He said: “This guy has challenged it, because he thinks his sentence was too severe, but from the victim’s point of view, do you not think a third off for a guilty plea and now this, do you think that’s fair?

“We have got one of the best legal systems in the world, but sometimes they get it wrong.”

The original sentence was handed down at St Albans Crown Court in April.

Mr Ali said the victim would be ‘shocked’ by the reduced jail term: “It’s too lenient for what he did.”

Mayor of Tring Roxanne Ransley, who used to work as a cognitive behavioural therapist at Aylesbury Prison, is worried that Pitchei may not now be properly rehabilitated.

She said the licence period after a jail term usually includes courses to change offenders’ behaviour patterns, which may have helped Pitchei.

She said: “It’s not what’s going on around you – it’s what’s going on in your head that makes you commit crime.”