Burnley rapist is back in prison

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A Burnley rapist who struck while on licence from jail is back behind bars, facing a long sentence.

Mark Anton Smith (44) will face a dangerousness assessment by the probation service before he is sentenced at the town’s crown court on May 12th. Three years ago, he was convicted of a violent personal robbery of a 64-year-old man in the victim’s own home.

Smith, of Hogarth Avenue, Burnley, was due to stand trial over the rape charge today (Monday) at Burnley Crown Court, but changed his plea to guilty and admitted the attack, which took place on October 18th.

The defendant was locked up for four years in 2012, after he terrorised and robbed the 64-year-old in his Burnley flat. He has now been recalled on licence until November this year.

Smith’s barrister asked for the defendant to be sentenced for the rape straight away, but Judge Simon Newell said: “I think a pre-sentence report may assist. I think there are other considerations that at least have to be looked at. A pre-sentence report will look at each issue, including dangerousness.”

He told Smith: “The court has to consider not just the length of sentence, but the type of sentence and having regard to your last conviction, for which you have been recalled, a pre-sentence report will assist the sentencing judge.” The defendant, who will also be placed on the sexual offenders’ register, was remanded in custody.

Burnley Crown Court was told in February 2012 how Smith, then described as alcohol dependent, had grabbed his retired victim by the throat and held him against a wall until he gasped for breath. He had threatened him and made the man remove a treasured ring, which he then stole.

Smith had been at the flat above the victim’s and was said to have gone down to remonstrate after the victim had been banging on the ceiling because of noise. The defendant had been arrested at the property upstairs not long after, wearing the ring.

Smith had admitted robbery, which took place in September 2011. The defendant, who had a record dating back to 1990, had, at that stage, never served a custodial term before.