Beds, Herts & Bucks

Leighton Buzzard child kidnap accused 'unfit to plead'

A man accused of posing as a police officer to kidnap a nine-year-old girl is not fit to plead, a court has heard.

Police were called after Derek Cheeseman was allegedly spotted with the child in the back of his car.

Mr Cheeseman, 76, from Waterloo Road, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire is on trial for kidnapping and attempted kidnapping but was not in the dock.

The jury at Luton Crown Court has been told it must decide whether or not he committed these acts.

But after psychiatrists for both the prosecution and the defence judged him unfit to plead, the jury will not be able to find him either guilty or not guilty.

'Don't cry'

Prosecutor Laura Blackband told the jury the nine-year-old girl was walking home along Meadow Way, Leighton Buzzard on 18 November at 16:00 GMT when she was approached by Mr Cheeseman.

The court heard she got into his car after he claimed he was a police officer and he drove her about five miles away to Rectory Farm, Little Brickhill.

Miss Blackband said the girl became worried and started to cry as they left the town, but was told by Mr Cheeseman "not to be silly" and "don't cry, I am not going to hurt you".

The jury were told a farmer saw Mr Cheeseman's vehicle and after noticing the "worried" look on the girl's face, called the police.

The 76-year-old had previously tried to lure two 12-year-olds from Stewkley, Buckinghamshire into his dark blue Renault Scenic on 1 November, the court heard.

He offered them £10 to walk his dogs, but drove off when the girls said they needed to check first with their families, Miss Blackband said.

A passing motorist noticed the defendant talking to the girls and contacted the police with a description of the car and its registration number.

The case continues.

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