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Groom jailed after trying to grab nine-year-old girl outside county shop
A man who tried to kidnap a young girl as she walked home in broad daylight from a Gloucestershire shop has been jailed for seven years.
Paedophile Alexander Benfield, 25, struck on his lunch break from stables where he worked as a groom teaching children to ride.
He made a terrifying grab for the youngster while she was on an errand for her mum with two other girls.
He approached her from behind and picked her up, but when she screamed he dropped her, grazing her knees and he ran off.
The children ran and told their mother about the incident in a Cotswold village one Saturday afternoon last July.
Police were called and Benfield – who drove straight to a clothes shop to buy a new shirt – was identified from CCTV.
Detectives also found two short movies on his mobile phone where he had covertly filmed young girls.
In the first a young blonde girl walked past the front of his car and the second showed a child swinging in a play park.
He denied attempted kidnap and actual bodily harm but was convicted by a jury at Swindon Crown Court.
The court heard he was attracted to “very young girls”.
Man convicted of the attempted kidnap of a nine-year-old girl
A man has been convicted of the attempted kidnap of a nine-year-old girl in Ashton Keynes and causing actual bodily harm.
Alexander Benfield, 25, showed no emotion as the jury, reduced to six women and five men, returned from three hours of deliberation and convicted him of attempted kidnap and causing actual bodily harm.
They found he grabbed the child as she ran an errand to the local shop with two other youngsters aged eight and nine, on Saturday, July 8.
Benfeld, of Lawrence Road, Cirencester, had stopped in Ashton Keynes as he made a lunchtime trip to shops from the stables where he worked in Bradon.
In footage from CCTV cameras in the village his car is seen pulling up just yards from the local store as the three little girls come out.
As they made their way home Benfield came up behind the children and grabbed the girl by her shoulder and bottom, lifting her off the ground.
But as she struggled and screamed he dropped her, leaving her with grazed knees, and ran off.
After getting back in his car he drove straight to a clothes shop to buy a new shirt so he could change out of the distinctive T shirt he was wearing.
And when he was arrested the following day he lied about what he had been wearing and where he had been the day before.
However as well as film from the village, police also recovered CCTV footage from the clothes shop and stable yard, showing what he was wearing.
Detectives also found two short movies on his mobile phone where had covertly filmed young girls.
In the first clip, lasting four seconds a young blonde girl walks past the front of his car and the second, 18 seconds in length, showed a child swinging in a play park.
Judge Tim Mousley QC adjourned the case to Monday, November 6, and remanded Benfield in custody until then.
He said: “You have been convicted of a very serious offence by a jury. Inevitably the sentence will be one of imprisonment.