A rapist awaiting trial for attacks on two 16-year-old schoolgirls claimed a third victim after a judge allowed him to walk free from court on bail.

BY LIZ HULL, Daily Mail

Daniel Charnock subjected a girl of 18 to a terrifying ordeal in a park within 72 hours of facing court charged with the first two rapes.

When he carried out the third assault Charnock, 19, mocked his victim, saying: "I’m going to get sent down anyway."

As he began a sentence of at least seven years for the attacks, campaigners criticised the jus-tice system which allowed the dangerous sexual predator to strike a third time.

Warrington Crown Court heard that Charnock attacked the 16-year-olds on the evening of May 20 last year. They had been out cele-brating their final day at school when Charnock whistled at them and asked them for a cigarette.

He grabbed one of the girls, threw her on the ground and raped her while her terrified friend looked helplessly on. He then forced the second girl to kiss him before pushing her to the ground, ripping off her blouse and skirt and raping her. The girls reported the attacks to police and he was arrested five months later and charged with two counts of rape.

On October 21 Charnock faced the crown court for a preliminary hearing. Instead of remanding him in custody, a judge granted him conditional bail provided he stay at home between 8pm and 8am. But police did not enforce the curfew because they were not made aware of it.

Third attack

On the night of October 24, Charnock defied his bail conditions and pounced on his next victim as she walked through a park in Warrington. Once again, he asked for a cigarette before pushing her to the ground and raping her in nearby bushes.

The victim, who has learning difficulties, managed to stagger sobbing to a nearby house for help. It was not until the next day, after Charnock had been arrested, that police were informed of his bail conditions.

He admitted having sex with the 18-year-old and one of the 16-year-olds, but claimed both consented. However a jury at Warrington Crown Court dismissed his version of events and found him guilty of three counts of rape. They were told that DNA evi-dence revealed there was a one in 75million chance of someone else being responsible for the attacks.

On Friday Judge David Hale handed Charnock an indetermi-nate sentence but ordered he serve a minimum of seven years before being considered for parole.

Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said ‘arrogant’ judges who failed to jail dangerous offenders because of overpopulated prisons were behind a rise in violent crime.

"Daniel Charnock had raped two females and was obviously a danger to women. He should have remained in custody once he was charged."

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, called for the judge who granted Charnock bail to resign.

"This is a terrible outrage," he said. "Judges seem to be putting the human rights of criminals before the rights of the public.

"Senior members of Government and other public figures have to be accountable for their actions, but highly-paid judges who grant bail and allow such dangerous people to walk our streets and hand out lenient sen-tences are free to do so without any checks or balances. They are answerable to no one.

"Having raped two women, this man knew he was unlikely to get a longer sentence if he did so again. Seven years is a mockery. He will serve less than two years for each victim, while their lives have been ruined for ever. This man should spend every day of the rest of his life in prison."

A spokesman for Cheshire Police defended the decision to grant Charnock bail, adding: "There was no history of sexual offences in his background."

Detective Chief Inspector Judi Heaton added: "The crime of rape is treated very seriously by the courts and attracts severe sentences."

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