Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Primark pair admit toddler kidnap

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Media captionTimeline: How events unfolded as the child went missing from Primark on Northumberland Street

Two teenage girls who kidnapped a toddler from a Primark store had attempted to snatch another child from the shop on the same day.

The two-year-old girl went missing from the shop on Northumberland Street in Newcastle city centre in April.

She was found an hour and 45 minutes later after being tracked via CCTV cameras to a park in the suburb of Gosforth, about three miles away.

The girls, aged 13 and 14, pleaded guilty to kidnap.

It can now be reported the pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had tried unsuccessfully to trick another girl's mother on 13 April.

In both cases they picked on black children.

'Assessment of dangerousness'

A previous hearing in April heard a tablet computer was found containing searches for "rape", "people getting raped", "young people getting raped", "poor little thing getting kidnapped and raped".

At a youth court hearing in North Shields, District Judge Roger Elsey adjourned the case for reports to be made, saying there was some "very concerning material on the tablet that was recovered".

"That is going to have to inform the assessment of dangerousness," he said.

The teenagers, from Tyneside, had been charged with kidnap with the intention of committing a sexual offence but this was dropped after the prosecution accepted a plea to the alternative charge of kidnap.

They also admitted shoplifting dummies, baby milk and a bottle.

Northumbria Police said the fact two officers had recognised the girls' description and suggested where they might go was instrumental in the toddler being found quickly.

Ch Supt Laura Young said: "The response from local businesses and our partners really highlights the ability of us all to come together in an emergency."

'Offered sweets'

The girls will appear before the same court on 4 July but may be sentenced at crown court.

They were remanded into the care of the local authority.

Speaking after the hearing the father of the toddler said: "The question remains: what was their intention?"

The girls had offered his daughter sweets to entice her away, he revealed, and added that the child's mother will "never forget the guilt" of losing her.

But he praised the operation to find her, saying: "Thankfully, the police did an amazing job and the people of Newcastle as a city came together."

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