A 69-year-old paedophile from Abingdon who raped and molested a young girl has had his life sentence overturned at the Appeal Court in London.

Lord Justice Rix said Laud Lawrence, of Wordsworth Road, should instead serve 18 years in prison for his crimes.

Lawrence had admitted four charges of indecency with a child, four of indecent assault on a female and was convicted of two charges of rape after a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court in July last year.

When Lawrence was convicted, he was already serving a 10-year prison sentence imposed at Oxford Crown Court in 2006 for a series of sexual offences against five young girls.

It was only after he had been jailed for those crimes that the other victim contacted the police.

She told officers that she was suffering emotional problems and “needed closure”, said Lord Justice Rix, who heard the appeal with Mr Justice Bean and Judge David Paget.

Lord Rix added that she suffered so badly from her ordeal, she had twice attempted suicide.

He said Lawrence began to groom the girl when she was just eight years old.

After hearing legal arguments from Lawrence’s barrister, Lord Justice Rix said that he and his colleagues had agreed that the life sentence was “unnecessary”.

He said: “We have considered this case with great anxiety and have come to the conclusion that there is, because of the age of this appellant, no need for the imposition of a life sentence.”