Sex offender's bid for lower sentence

LOTTERY winning convicted sex offender Rodney Hogan is today preparing to take his case before a Court of Appeal judge to plead for a reduction in his jail sentence.

LOTTERY winning convicted sex offender Rodney Hogan is today preparing to take his case before a Court of Appeal judge to plead for a reduction in his jail sentence.

Lawyers acting for the former policeman from Bramford, who is being kept in a hospital wing of Norwich Prison, have filed an appeal against sentence with the court in a bid to see him released before he has served half of his two-year term.

News of the appeal came as Hogan's wife Rita revealed she feared he would die in jail.

Mrs Hogan, of Fitzgerald Road, Bramford, today said she was standing by her husband, who she believed was innocent.

She said: “If there was the slightest bit of doubt in my mind I would be the first one to kick him out.

“It came as such a shock when the jury found him guilty, I couldn't believe it.

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“Since then I have thought 'will he come out?'. He shouldn't be there.”

And she said her own health had deteriorated since her husband's jailing and added: “I keep wondering if I'll still be here when he comes out anyway.”

Hogan, a former Ipswich policeman and Port of Felixstowe fireman, was jailed for two years in October after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 13 and for an assault on a woman over the age of 16.

The 65-year-old, who scooped £77,058 on the lottery in 1998, denied the offences throughout his trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

A jury found him guilty of two specimen charges of indecently assaulting the girls and to one charge of indecently assaulting the woman.

The court was told that Hogan, who lived with his wife and her daughter and son-in-law at their home in Fitzgerald Road, had put his arm around one of the girls and kissed her on the mouth using his tongue. It heard he also put his hand down her top.

Hogan was found guilty of assaulting another girl aged between 12 and 13 between March 2002 and March 2004 and of assaulting the woman between December 2000 and January 2004.

He was found not guilty of a fourth assault.

Mrs Hogan said she had become afraid to leave her home after her husband's conviction.

She said: “I can't face going out.”

Hogan and his wife ran pubs in the Ipswich area for about a decade after he gave up his building business. They ran the Kesgrave Bell for about four years but when Hogan developed a genetic neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's disease he gave up work.

Mrs Hogan - Hogan's second wife - said she had visited him in prison.

“He was a bit weepy at first. He's in a hospital ward, there's six men in there and he gets on with it all right,” she said.

But she added: “If he doesn't have his medication he's a cabbage, he can't do anything.”

The Court of Appeal confirmed it had received an appeal against Hogan's sentence but a hearing date was yet to be set.

RODNEY Hogan's step-daughter today backed her mother in defending the convicted sex offender - saying she had no doubts he was innocent.

Sharon Finelli, Hogan's 40-year-old step-daughter who has shared a house with him for nearly two decades, said she “couldn't believe it” when he was found guilty.

She said: “I met Rod in 1987 and not long after he moved in with us.

“I haven't got a worry in the world (about him). I know he's only my step-father but to me he's my dad.

“I just want to clear his name. If there was the slightest doubt in my mind, I would be the first one there.”

After being jailed by Judge Peter Thompson in October, Hogan, who the court heard had been impotent since 1996, was told he would be listed on the sex offenders' register for ten years and prevented from being in any environment with a child under 16 unless the guardian for that child was also present.

Speaking at the time of his lottery win in 1998, Hogan said: “It's a lovely amount to win because we can change our lifestyle and make things a lot more comfortable.”