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Sentence cut for prisoner jailed for raping Stratford pensioner

PUBLISHED: 16:53 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:58 21 January 2014

Wendell Baker

Wendell Baker

Archant

A man who was jailed for life after raping a Stratford pensioner in her bedroom in 1997 has a won an appeal for a two-year reduction in his minimum term.

Wendall Baker, 56, was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and six months at the Old Bailey last year but judges at the Court of Appeal decided today that he will be allowed to apply for parole two years earlier.

Baker was jailed in June after going on trial for the second time under the double jeopardy law following the discovery of a ‘one in a billion’ DNA match.

Baker’s victim, 66-year-old Hazel Backwell, was asleep when he broke into her home in Litchfield Avenue, Stratford, in January 1997.

He tied her hands behind her back with a flex, beat and raped her, then ransacked her house before leaving her bound and trapped in a cupboard.

Ms Backwell was found by chance by neighbour George Walpole the next evening, terrified and thinking she was going to die.

The attack left her too afraid to continue living alone or go out by herself and she died in 2002.

During Baker’s trial, Judge Rook said: “It seems to me it’s difficult to find a case of more serious rape during the course of a burglary, short of where the victim is either killed or caused very serious harm.”

Baker, from Walthamstow, was originally arrested on suspicion of rape in 1998 and later charged but was acquitted.

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