Anthony Sampieri takes first step to appeal life sentence for sexual assault of seven-year-old girl in toilets of Kogarah dance studio

"Terrifying ordeal": Anthony Sampieri and the toilets where the attack occurred. Right: Judge Paul Conlon delivers the sentence. Pictures: 7 News and 9 News
"Terrifying ordeal": Anthony Sampieri and the toilets where the attack occurred. Right: Judge Paul Conlon delivers the sentence. Pictures: 7 News and 9 News

Anthony Sampieri has taken the first step towards appealing the life sentence he was given for his violent sexual assault on a seven-year-old girl in the toilets of a Kogarah dance studio.

His lawyer lodged a notice of intention to appeal with the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on February 13, the day after he was sentenced in the NSW District Court.

Sampieri and his lawyers have six months in which to decide whether to proceed with the appeal.

The ABC reported Sampieri's defence was funded by Legal Aid and he is expected to apply for taxpayer money to pay for his appeal.

Sampieri, 56, became the first person to be sentenced to life imprisonment without a non-parole period for sexually assaulting a child under 10 since the law was changed in 2015.

Before the change, the maximum sentence was 25 years.

During the attack on the girl, which lasted 45-50 minutes, Sampieri punched her in the face, forced her to perform acts of depravity, bound her wrists and ankles and attached them to a cord around her neck and stuffed toilet paper in her mouth to silence her.

Sampieri, who was armed with a knife, told the girl he would cut her throat if she tried to alert anyone who came into the toilets.

"Throughout the whole ordeal, the offender demonstrated a callous disregard for this young child as he violently assaulted her and went about dominating and controlling her with the use of a knife and cords, and subjecting her to sexual abuse of the most horrifying and degrading type," Judge Paul Conlon said.

"I agree with the submission of the Crown that the taking of the victim in such circumstances and what happened to her during the course of the detention can only be described as every parent's worst nightmare."

Judge Conlon said a victim impact statement in respect of the child had not been provided, nor did it need to be.

"Clearly, there will be lifelong consequences for her to deal with in respect of emotional and psychological scarring," he said.

"One can only imagine the trauma that will be revisited upon her on any occasion she has to enter a public or office toilet.

"Indeed, that may possibly extend to even entering a toilet in the confines of her own home."

Judge Conlon said Sampieri had used his mobile phone to record a four minutes and 43 second video of the abuse.

Sampieri pleaded guilty to 10 charges, including three counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10, for each of which he was sentenced to the maximum of life imprisonment without a non parole period.

He received varying jail terms for the other offences, along with seven charges relating to 94 sexually explicit phone calls he made to women in the months before the attack.

Judge Conlon said a medical report stated Sampieri was suffering from liver cancer, with only a 60 per cent chance he would survive for five years.