Longer sentence for Bedfordshire man Jachin Mascall who raped 12-year-old girl he met on Tinder

Credit: PA
Jachin Mascall first encountered the girl from south London on dating app Tinder in 2021. Credit: PA

A rapist who repeatedly abused a 12-year-old girl has been handed a longer sentence, after judges ruled his original community order was "unduly lenient".

Jachin Mascall, now 20, first encountered the girl from south London on dating app Tinder in 2021, where the pair exchanged phone numbers, the Court of Appeal was told.

Judges replaced Mascall's original sentence with a custodial term of three years, having heard details of the Bedfordshire man's offences.

Mascall and his victim met in London last May and spent 36 hours together travelling around the capital, during which time there was sexual activity between them in a car park and at two railway stations.

Mascall, then aged 19, whose family home was near Dunstable in Bedfordshire, was later arrested.

He admitted sexual activity with the girl to police, but said that at all times he believed her to be over 16. Mascall later pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child under 13 at Inner London Crown Court in June 2021.

He received a three-year community order which required him to do 200 hours unpaid work, 40 hours rehabilitation activity and 48 sessions of "choices and change" programme.

Solicitor General Alex Chalk QC referred his sentence to the Court of Appeal in London, arguing it was "unduly lenient".

In a ruling on Monday, Lord Justice William Davis, sitting with two other judges, quashed the original sentence and replaced it with a custodial term of 36 months in a young offender institution with a further licence period of one year.

'Victim claimed she was 20'

According to their judgment, the victim had joined Tinder despite the app having a minimum age requirement of 18.

When she and Mascall met, she told him that she was aged 20 and had a car and her own accommodation.

In advance of his sentencing in January this year, prosecutors said CCTV footage of Mascall with his victim showed she had "no distress" and that the sexual activity between them was "unforced", judges said.

The sentencing judge described the victim as a "highly vulnerable child" and Mascall as "a young man who is relatively ordinary, immature and possibly rather naive".

She found there had been no grooming of the victim, there was an "absence of exploitation" and that his belief around her age was "reasonable", judges said.

But the appeal judges concluded that Mascall's sentence was "unduly lenient".

They said of the victim: "She may have passed herself off as a 20-year-old but that does not detract from her vulnerability."

They concluded that Mascall's relationship with her was "opportunistic" and that he was "not markedly immature for his years".

The judges highlighted "significant" aggravating factors in the case, such as the location of the offending.

They said Mascall had spent a substantial period with the victim but did not question her "unlikely account" over why they did not go to her flat, while there was "no sign" of the car she supposedly had access to.

"There can be an element of risk taking when committing offences of this kind. That applied here," the judges said.

They added: "What existed here was a culpable lack of responsibility on the part of the offender rather than exploitation in the strict sense.

"He was 19 whereas [the victim] was 12. He was the person as between the two of them who ought to have exercised responsibility."

The concluded that the Crown Court judge's sentence "gave insufficient weight to the nature of the offender's culpability and the aggravating features involved in his conduct towards [the victim]".

Mascall must serve at least one half of his custodial term before being able to apply for parole, and will receive credit for the time he previously spent on remand and under electronically monitored curfew.

He was ordered to surrender to Luton Police station at 4pm on Monday.

Mr Chalk said after the ruling: "Mascall's actions have harmed the victim and her family, and his naivety and immaturity are no excuse.

"I welcome the increase, reflecting the seriousness of his actions."