Paedophile snatched girl, 10, off street before abusing her in ‘appalling act of sexual depravity’
A man snatched a 10-year-old girl off the street and abused her shortly before taking his three-year-old son on holiday.
Kevin Holmes, 28, bundled his victim into the boot of his car, assaulted her and then abandoned her on wasteland.
He drove straight from the scene in Fleetwood, Lancashire, and picked up his three-year-old son for a week’s break in Yorkshire.
Holmes, of Crosby, Liverpool, even rang the mother of his child days later to warn that a paedophile was on the loose in the area, Preston Crown Court heard.
Jailing him indefinitely, Judge Christopher Cornwall said it was an ‘utterly appalling case of sexual depravity’.
Holmes was sentenced to serve a minimum of five years for public protection and will not be considered for parole until then.
Holmes acted out his ‘grotesque’ sexual fantasies with no regard to the ‘dark shadow’ it would cast over the young girl, the judge said.
Holmes then drove off to a piece of waste ground where he went on to sexually assault her on the afternoon of May 9 last year.
Her 30-minute ordeal ended when he dumped her at the scene and ordered her not to turn around or he would kill her by drowning her in a pond, the court heard.
Judge Cornwall said: ‘Ordinary decent members of the community hearing the terrible details of what you did to this girl are likely to react with disbelief that anyone could act with such inhumanity towards a 10-year-old girl.’
Holmes admitted kidnap, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sexual assault.
He went on trial in December on a further charge of raping the girl but a not guilty verdict was ordered to be returned after the child felt unable to be cross-examined over her trauma.
The girl had left her home for the short walk to a sweet shop after her mother gave her £1.
She left the shop to stroll across to meet her friends in a nearby play area when the chance encounter with the defendant happened.
Holmes stood next to the open boot of his Vauxhall Astra as she passed and he asked her for help which she sensibly refused, prosecutor Richard Haworth said.
‘As she tried to walk away she was grabbed and manhandled into the boot of the car,’ he said.
‘She was in a position of darkness as the defendant got back into the car and it drove off.’
He told the court the car later stopped, Holmes opened the boot and, after assaulting her, told her ‘to keep still and asked how old she was.
‘In a bid to try and prevent anything further taking place she said she was only eight.’
Holmes then set off for wasteland next to an equestrian centre in Rossall Lane where he parked and then pulled her from the boot into the rear of the vehicle where he sexually assaulted her and then acted indecently in front of her.
His parting shot was to threaten to kill her as he abandoned her where she successfully sought the help of a passer-by and raised the alarm, Mr Haworth said.
Within minutes Holmes was at the home of his ex-partner to pick up his son.
The prosecutor said: ‘She says he turned up and appeared to be acting perfectly normal and was even having a laugh with everybody in the house.
”’Kevin told people to kiss our son goodbye and then they both left’, she said.’
Holmes later returned from the holiday but not before committing a ‘supreme act of deceit’ during the break with a phone call to his ex-partner.
‘She said Kevin explained that a young girl had been taken from the park and that I had to keep an eye on my son,’ he said.
‘I assumed he was being a caring dad but during that phone call he implied I was a bad mother and that I let him wander around his own.’
Police undertook an extensive manhunt as DNA traces from the attacker were detected.
Holmes had no previous convictions so was not thought to be on the DNA database but it is understood the sample proved to be a match with a close family member.
When arrested at his home in Liverpool a month later, he told officers: ‘I hold my hands up, I can’t stay on the run. I’ve abducted a child and sexually assaulted her.
‘I’ve never done anything like this before.’
The girl showed great courage in providing as much information as she could soon after her ordeal and had provided an ‘astonishingly accurate’ description of his facial features which was distributed by the police.
She suffered bruising and had undergone a considerable medical examination including tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In mitigation, Janet Ironfield said Holmes was a man of previous good character who came from a respectable family background.
Written testimonials outlining his character had been submitted from his family, friends and neighbours, and his family continued to support him, she said.
She added that he maintained he had not rehearsed indulging in his sexual fantasy, had never set eyes on the child before and had not pre-planned the attack.
Sentencing, Judge Cornwall said: ‘Most decent people will struggle to understand how anyone could entertain such depraved thoughts in the first place but to go beyond the realms of fantasy to make it an act of reality is simply grotesque.
‘She had ceased to be a vulnerable child as far as you were concerned.
‘She was but a vehicle for you to achieve sexual satisfaction.
‘When you took hold of her and put her into the boot of your car you took hold of her whole future life and put it in grave jeopardy.
‘In her most heart-rendering victim impact statement, her mother said ‘it really frightens me as a mother, how will she end up now, is she going to be different now, how will she cope if she does not speak about it, what is she thinking, how will this affect her?
‘Every single one of those questions is pertinent. Each one is asked for one reason only – because of what you (Holmes) did to her.
‘What makes all this terrible business even more dreadful is that you had travelled there to pick up your own child child in order to take him on holiday.
‘While waiting for the appointment time to collect him you saw this girl and you were completely unable to control this bizarre sexual impulse, did all that you did towards her and picked up your son thereafter as if nothing had happened.’
He concluded: ‘The harm you have done remains beyond calculation. You exploited her innocence for your own gratification without giving any thought to the harm you caused her.
‘You have cast a very dark shadow over her childhood. No-one at the present time knows how long that shadow will last. This is a terrible burden for her and her parents.’
He said he was satisfied he was ‘highly dangerous’ and continued to pose a strong risk to under-age children.
The judge stressed he would only be released by the Parole Board if it was content that risk was no longer present.
If released Holmes, of Coney Crescent, would be on licence and could be recalled at any point if he breached its terms, he said.
In a statement, the girl’s family said: ‘We as a family still find it hard to come to to terms with what has happened to our daughter and will do for a long time, if not for the rest of our lives.
‘No matter the sentence today, it will never make this go away.
‘What this man did to our little girl is horrific. She or any other child should have been able to feel safe playing around the corner in the park in broad daylight.
‘We have to deal with challenges day by day, her innocence has been taken from her by this man’s actions but we will be strong and have to get her through this.
‘She has changed, there is no doubt, but we have to accept this and carry on as best as we can.
‘She is the bravest person we know and we are extremely proud of her.
‘I feel no matter what rehabilitation he (Holmes) receives the fact is he will remain an extremely dangerous individual.
‘I am already scared that when he is released that he will do this again to another child – that it could be worse for that child.
‘We are just glad that he did let our daughter go.
‘But knowing what he did and what he is capable of is very frightening.
‘We would like to thank everyone for their help, advice and support during this, including Lancashire Police, the doctors at The Safe Centre, even members of the public who came forward offering information which helped lead to the arrest and conviction of this man.’
Outside court, the child’s mother said: ‘I think it’s disgusting that he phoned his former partner knowing that he did it. It is hard to put into words how I feel.’
Detective Superintendent Neil Esseen said it was one of the ‘most harrowing cases’ he had dealt with in his 25 years of experience in serious crime.
‘What he did was reprehensible and, in my mind, bestial,’ he said.
‘It was a terrible offence and my heart goes out to the girl and her family.’