May 2011

Man, 37, who abducted 13-year-old schoolgirl is jailed for 21 months

A NOTTINGHAM man who abducted a 13-year-old schoolgirl and took her to Cornwall has been jailed for 21 months.

Mark Peel, 37, agreed to be the youngster’s “boyfriend” after they met up and subsequently exchanged text messages.

Phil Howes, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday, said that at the end of January the girl told her mother she was going to spend the weekend at a friend’s home in Skegness.

But instead she met up with Peel and he drove her down to Cornwall.

They booked into accommodation in Bude with the girl giving a fictitious name.

Mr Howes said: “The intention appears to be that they were going to stay a number of weeks but by the Sunday the mother realised her daughter wasn’t coming home.

“The police were informed. She suspected the defendant would be with her daughter and the police tracked him down and arrested him.”

Peel went on to admit he abducted the girl from her mother but when he appeared at his original sentence hearing at Boston Magistrates he was again accompanied by the girl.

Mr Howes said the teenager had been dropped off at her East Lincolnshire secondary school by her mum in the morning but she then left the building and met up with Peel who drove her to court.

“They were picked up on CCTV holding hands and kissing. Security staff at the court, having been tipped off that he might be with a young girl, intervened.

“The girl was subsequently taken to a place of safety.”

Peel, of Vernon Avenue, Old Basford, Nottingham, admitted abducting the girl to Cornwall on January 28 and a second charge of abducting her on March 2 when she travelled to Boston Magistrates with him.

Stephen Clayton, defending, said the girl had willingly gone with Peel having earlier asked him to be her boyfriend.

Peel agreed but insisted they should not have sex until her 16th birthday.

“The breakdown of his marriage had a significant effect on his mental health. It led to increasing depression and inappropriate thinking. He felt lonely and isolated.

“Had his marriage not broken down and his mental health deteriorated then these offences would never have occurred.”

He said there was no sexual activity between the pair during the trip to Cornwall.

The second incident occurred because the girl wanted to speak up for Peel at his sentencing hearing.

Judge Michael Heath told Peel: “There is no evidence of sexual impropriety but it is clear there was an inappropriate relationship between you and there was some physical contact.

“This girl, to some extent, did the chasing but she was 13 and you were 37.

“You most clearly knew better than to do what you did and take her to Cornwall.”