August 2014

Teenagers held in hostage ordeal

A depraved man who subjected schoolchildren to a ‘horrific’ and ‘prolonged’ hostage ordeal has been jailed for six years.

Stelios Andreas Anatselopoulos preyed on vulnerable adults and children in a ‘frightening catalogue of offending’.

Carlisle Crown Court heard he falsely imprisoned four children, punching two of them and sexually assaulting a girl.

The 22-year-old was jailed for GBH, theft, four counts of robbery, sexual assault and false imprisonment after pleading guilty on November 29 to the offences.

Carlisle Crown Court was told Anatselopoulos, who had been living in Town View Fields Hostel, set out on November 11 at 5.55pm in a balaclava and first ‘terrified’ a woman passer-by on Highgate who had to push him out the way before running away.

Rebecca McGregor, prosecuting, said five minutes later he punched a man in the face three times, leaving him needing surgery.

Continuing his spree, he then demanded £5 from a 22-year-old with autism and, at Bargain Booze, threatened to knock out a boy, 12, if he did not hand over a drink, which he then snatched.

Ms McGregor said Anatselopoulos, who had drunk half a litre of rum and two cans of beer, went to Kirkbarrow, at around 6.30pm where three 13-year-olds, two boys and a girl, were in a shelter at Anchorite Fields park.

Anatselopoulos butted the first boy before punching him and forcing him to drink from a bottle of peach Schnapps.

“The defendant smashed the bottle and held the neck of it to them and demanded to know the names of the children, then told them to call him Pete,” said Ms McGregor.

He continued to punch the boy, banging his head against the shelter, before telling him to comfort the girl.

“Anatselopoulos put his hands around the girl and kissed her on the cheek, then told her to stand up and kiss his forehead, but she said no,” said Ms McGregor.

During the episode the second boy started to text for help but Anatselopoulos forced him and the first teenager to hand over their coats and mobile phones.

Turning his attention to the girl, he asked for her phone but she denied having one, said Ms McGregor. He then sexually assaulted her.

Anatselopoulos continued to punch the two boys until another 13-year-old boy arrived. He confiscated his phone and coat and forced him into the shelter to drink beer.

The police were called 45 minutes into the incident after a resident nearby heard shouts and cries.

In victim statements the children described how they did not go out anymore and the first boy said he felt they had been held hostage.

The court heard that in an interview Anatselopoulos said he would have kept the children there for hours had the police not arrived, that he had worn a balaclava to appear more intimidating and that he wanted to go to prison.

In mitigation, Christopher Evans said Anatselopoulus had complicated mental issues and accepted his behaviour was ‘horrific’.

Judge Peter Hughes QC described the incidents as ‘a frightening catalogue of offending’.

“In the community you pose a substantial risk of causing severe danger to the public,” he said.