Man who raped 12-year-old he met on dating app handed stricter sentence after 'unduly lenient' ruling

Jachin Mascall, now aged 20, was originally handed a three-year community order

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A man who raped a 12-year-old he met on Tinder has had his original sentence increased.

Jachin Mascall, now aged 20, was originally handed a community order, but judges have now ruled that he should be detained for three years because his original sentence was “unduly lenient”.

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

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

Mascall was later arrested, where he admitted sexual activity with the girl but said that at all times he believed her to be over the age of 16.

In June 2021, he pleaded guilty to three counts of rape of a child under 13 at at Inner London Crown Court, where he received a three-year community order.

The order required him to do 200 hours unpaid work, 40 hours rehabilitation activity and 48 sessions of “choices and change” programme.

But Solicitor General Alex Chalk QC referred his sentence to London’s Court of Appeal, arguing it was “unduly lenient.”

And in a ruling on Monday, Lord Justice William Davis and two other judges removed 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.

They said that the victim had joined Tinder despite the app having a minimum age requirement of 18 and 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 the 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 original sentence was “unduly lenient”.

They said: “She may have passed herself off as a 20-year-old, but that does not detract from her vulnerability.”

Judges at the Court of Appeal deemed Mascall's sentence as "unduly lenient"
Judges at the Court of Appeal deemed Mascall's sentence as "unduly lenient"

They described Mascall’s relationship with her as “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.”

They concluded that the Crown Court judge’s sentence “gave insufficient weight to the nature of the offender’s culpability."