Kidnapper teens planned ‘serious harm’ to toddler

Two teenagers who kidnapped a toddler from a Primark store have been detained for three years and three months.

Mr Justice Globe concluded that the girls aged 13 and 14 took the two-year-old girl from her mother and serious harm to the child was foreseeable.

At Newcastle Crown Court, he told them the toddler was at risk of physical or sexual violence, and/or exploitation. 

He was referring to internet searches made on a tablet belonging to the younger defendant.

“The internet history shows hundreds of searches in relation to pornographic topics which include children having sex, rape, slavery, and abduction,” he said.

The judge initially sentenced them to three years and four months but took a month off, having heard they have been subject to a curfew since they pleaded guilty to kidnap.

Earlier the court, heard how the mother of the toddler banged her head on a wall in distress when she realised what had happened. 

The teens had been playing with the little girl for 15 minutes in a display which the mother believed was “sweet” before they enticed her away with sweets, the court heard.

The kidnappers had skipped school and spent hours in the Primark in Newcastle, waiting for a child to abduct on April 13.

They had already approached two others, and almost tricked the mother of one of them when they tried to lead her daughter away. 

They had engaged that child’s mother by saying the little one was “beautiful” and asking whether she could speak.

Sarah Barlow, prosecuting, told the court they later grabbed another girl, and walked out of the store, leaving her mother devastated.

Ms Barlow said: “She was described by one witness as banging her head against a wall, she was so utterly distraught.”

Justice Globe, who was junior prosecution counsel in the trial of James Bulger’s killers, was shown CCTV of the shop and the girls approaching shoppers. 

Ms Barlow said the film demonstrated the two kidnappers were “working together, quite coordinated” and showed “a degree of planning or at least communication between the two”.

At times the girls left the Primark store and briefly went into a Boots store. They later admitted stealing a dummy, baby milk, and a bottle.

They returned to the clothes store and went to the children’s section where at around 4pm they began talking to their victim.

Ms Barlow said: “They offered her sweets. That’s indicative of the level of planning, they had taken with them things likely to attract a child to them.

“Her mother was not suspicious, she simply thought the girls were playing with her daughter and were being quite sweet. This went on for some 15 minutes.”

Then the girls took the toddler into a lift and out of the store, holding hands with the older defendant, before they headed straight on to the Metro system and around 5km away to the suburb of Gosforth.

Once they arrived in Gosforth, they tried to take her to a soft play area but were not allowed in, then went to a Sainsbury’s where they stole the bottle and milk in an attempt to keep the toddler quiet. 

They then took her to the swings in a park beside the High Street.

Ms Barlow said the little girl was located “mercifully, relatively swiftly” after a description was circulated, and CCTV was examined.


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