WELLINGTON - The 14-year-old who attacked and raped a woman in central Wellington while in the state-approved care of a gang member has lost an appeal against his 71/2 -year prison term.

The Court of Appeal yesterday released its decision on the boy's appeal. His name and identifying details were suppressed.

The court said no matter how much concern there was about various people having failed the boy, and his young age, he took part in a callous and depraved act that deserved a severe response.

The boy, 15 in May, pleaded guilty to sexual violation by rape, being party to his caregiver Dean Hiroki's rape of the woman, two counts of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection involving oral contact, detaining the woman with intent to have sex with her, rendering her incapable of resisting sexual violation, aggravated assault, and fraudulent use of her bank card.

Hiroki, a Mongrel Mob member, and the boy stalked and attacked the woman in the early hours of last June 11.

After the attack they withdrew $500 from her bank account and went on a drinking binge.

More money was withdrawn from her account the next day.

Among the points raised at the boy's appeal was that he had a tragic background, including extensive physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

He had been forced to sleep in a shed with a dog.

Lawyer James Johnston had sought a sentence that meant the boy would be released by his 17th birthday so he would not have to serve time in an adult prison.

The district court judge had accepted that if the Department of Child, Youth and Family had not placed the boy in Hiroki's care, he probably would not have committed the crimes.

The Court of Appeal said the judge had almost halved the sentence he thought should have been imposed.

The appeal decision said there were clear indications "that every consideration was given to the family and social background of this unfortunate young man and that a very substantial discount was due and given for his early plea of guilty."