A paedophile snatched a six-year-old as she played outside her family home before sexually assaulting her.
Lewis Jones, 24, from Liverpool, was today jailed for life after abducting the child from a field where she was playing with her cousins alongside her sister’s house
The children were playing outside on August 17 last year when they spotted Jones sat on a bench, having previously been watching the children build a den.
Jones watched the children playing for around an hour, taking photographs of them whilst also on phone at various times, the court heard.
He went on to remove his t-shirt at one point, which revealed a tattoo on his chest – an identifying mark noticed by one of the children and later recounted to the police.
He then approached, offering to help make a den, then grabbed the girl, covering her mouth with his hand and ran off.
A girl, 11, realised what happened and told the other children to run for help and shouted out for the police to be called, prompting a search to begin immediately, the court heard.
The girl was being assaulted in woodland when Jones was disturbed by people calling her name as they looked for her.
Twenty-five minutes later, bruised, bloodied and injured from the attack, the girl wandered to a house screaming “Help me, I’ve been kidnapped”.
After the attack, Jones fled along a canal towpath, but handed himself in the next day after police issued a CCTV image of the suspect.
Jones then approached the youngsters and asked them to help him collect sticks, before grabbing the young girl around the waist, putting his hand over her mouth and running away with her down the disused railway path, away from her cousins, who then went to raise the alarm with the family members.
Immediately, an area search began by the family with the child located a short time later. Police officers continued searching the area for the suspect, CCTV and public assistance helping to identify him leading to his arrest.
When reunited with her mother, it became apparent that she had been the victim of a sexual assault, heard Manchester Crown Court
She was was taken to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre where she received specialist care and support was provided to her family.
Sentencing Jones to life imprisonment today, Her Honour Judge Manley referred to Jones as a dangerous individual who was highly likely to commit further, serious offences.
She further stated he would only be apply to first apply for parole in 2035, but he would only ever be released if he could prove to the Parole Board that he was safe to be out with the general public.
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