January 2010

Ash Vale lorry driver jailed for kidnapping girl

A LORRY driver who kidnapped a 13-year-old girl with the aim of sexually assaulting her has been jailed for five years.

Stephen Mackay, 48, of Avondale, Ash Vale, formerly Aldershot in Hampshire, was caught after colleagues recognised him from CCTV images shown on Crimewatch, in which he could be seen dragging the girl along a street in south London.

Croydon Crown Court heard that Mackay was carrying out deliveries in the Bromley area when, after parking his vehicle, he chatted to his young victim before taking her to a secluded spot and holding her there by force.

Part of the incident was caught on CCTV, with the images giving an indication of how frightening the experience must have been for the girl, Judge Ruth Downing said.

“I think your purpose was to do some sexual harm to this young lady.

“I have no doubt there is a risk of danger to the public,” she told Mackay on Friday last week (January 22).

“I remain deeply concerned at the inexplicable inability to come out with a reason for this happening.”

Andrew Ramsubhag, prosecuting, said the girl, who had only just turned 13, took her younger brother to school on July 24 and was walking home along Freelands Road in Bromley.

Mackay approached her and said good morning, but it did not concern her as she thought he may be a friend of someone she knew, the prosecutor said.

“She proceeded along Plaistow Lane, crossing over, where she encountered him again. He was standing at the junction and he said, ‘Don’t worry. I’m not following you. Are you alright?’,” Mr Ramsubhag said.

“Believing he may have required directions, she returned to the junction.

“He grabbed her by the right wrist over her clothing and forcibly led her down a lane and he said ‘You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen’ and he kissed her on the cheek, which she immediately wiped off with her sleeve.”

Mackay asked the girl if she had a boyfriend and did she want one, the court heard.

She replied no and by now was extremely afraid and felt ill-equipped to deal with the situation, the prosecutor said.

When she tried to get away Mackay ran after her, grabbing her again and giving her a bear hug around the waist, the court was told.

He man-handled her to a distance of 50m off the main road and bundled her into an overgrown wooded area before telling the girl: “I’m not going to hurt you, so don’t worry.”

“He blocked her path and she was apprehensive about what would happen,” Mr Ramsubhag said.

“She heard him unzip his trousers and he put his hands down her knickers. He stopped shortly afterwards and she returned home,” .

When the girl’s mother arrived home, she found her daughter crying so hard that she could hardly speak, the court heard.

She told her mother she had been too frightened to stop Mackay as she was worried he might be carrying a knife.

The prosecutor said a CCTV camera had filmed the defendant pulling the girl along the road and, when this was shown on Crimewatch and other TV programmes, he was immediately recognised by a colleague.

Police were alerted and Mackay was arrested on July 30 last year in a business park.

When interviewed by police, he told officers the girl had been smiling at him and, further along the road, he waved at her.

He admitted grabbing her by the upper arm and asking her: “What are you doing going down a quiet lane with a strange man?”

Quizzed about the kidnapping, he had replied: “Only a monster could do such a thing.”

Defending, John Cammegh said Mackay took the view that he had been acting in a fatherly way towards the girl.

He could give no explanation for his one-off behaviour, apart from suffering from some sort of a breakdown following the death of his 21-year-old son four years ago.

Mr Cammegh said that Mackay, who admitted kidnapping with intent to commit a sexual assault, was a man of good character who had not done anything like it before.