Lancashire

Kidnapper of girl, 10, in Fleetwood cleared of her rape

Kevin Holmes
Image caption Kevin Holmes was warned to expect a long jail sentence

The rape trial of a man who abducted a 10-year-old girl in Lancashire has been halted after the child decided she did to want to give evidence.

Kevin Holmes, 28, from Coney Avenue in Crosby, Merseyside, has already admitted kidnap, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sexual assault.

Preston Crown Court had earlier heard how he abducted the girl as she walked near shops close to her Fleetwood home.

Holmes was cleared of rape after the prosecution offered no more evidence.

Richard Haworth, for the prosecution, told the court that the girl did not want to continue with her evidence.

He said the rape case could not proceed as medical evidence alone was not up to the required standard.

During the trial, which began on Monday, the court heard how the girl went to her local shop in Fleetwood at about 1320 BST on 9 May, and was approached by a man standing near a car.

Car boot

She tried to flee, but was caught and put into the boot of his car and was driven off.

The man later stopped the car and bit and slapped her, before driving to a second location where the alleged rape took place.

After a police investigation, Holmes was arrested in Liverpool on 11 June and later charged with kidnap and rape.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said the girl should not feel she had done anything wrong and warned Holmes he faces an extremely long jail term.

He will be sentenced on 24 January after a background report has been compiled by the probation service.

Speaking after the case, Det Supt Neil Esseen from Lancashire Constabulary's Force Major Investigation Team said: "This was a despicable attack on an innocent little girl who was out playing with friends.

"Holmes's conviction of kidnap and sexual assault is testament to the weight of evidence against him.

"This brave little girl and her family have been fantastic throughout this inquiry and I cannot praise them enough."

He added: "I would like to reiterate to the communities of Lancashire that such incidents are extremely rare, and we put great effort into catching those responsible.

"The man responsible for this heinous crime is now facing a lengthy prison sentence, and I believe this sends a clear message of our commitment and our ability to protect our communities from such harm."

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