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Girls to be sentenced over toddler kidnap

Girls to be sentenced over toddler kidnap

Two girls aged 13 and 14 who used sweets to kidnap a toddler from a Primark store where her mother was shopping will be sentenced at a crown court.

The girls appeared at a youth court hearing in North Tyneside where District Judge Roger Elsey said the girls would need more than 12 months of intensive work with social services to reduce their risk of re-offending.

His sentencing powers were insufficient, he said, so he sent their case to Newcastle Crown Court where they will be sentenced in the week beginning August 8.

Each girl was dressed in black and had an adult intermediary sat beside them to explain what was happening as the judge and their lawyers discussed the case.

The girls previously admitted a charge of kidnap for taking the toddler and were only found an hour and a half later, three miles away, after their descriptions were circulated in a major police operation.

Their victim was the second child they intended to grab from the Primark in Newcastle, having tried unsuccessfully to trick another little girl's mother. In both cases they picked on black children.

It emerged that alarming internet searches about rape were found on a tablet computer.

The kidnapped child was reunited with her mother unharmed after the abductors were traced by CCTV camera operators from the city centre, on to the Metro system and along Gosforth High Street, into a park.

They had also stolen dummies, baby milk and a bottle to use as part of their plan on April 13.

After the girls admitted the charges last month, the young victim's father said her mother will "never forget the guilt" of losing her.

He said: "Her mother was on the phone and our daughter was in her pram.

"They offered her sweets, she was hysterical and they got her out and started playing with her around the shop."

The defendants, who the media are prevented from identifying, have no criminal record and have never been arrested or cautioned.

They were known to social services and had gone missing before.

Judge Elsey remanded them into the care of the local authority and imposed a 9pm to 7am curfew.