A pervert has been jailed for abducting a schoolgirl at a County Durham park and sexually assaulting her.
Colin Luke led the girl away from her friends at a public park in Bowburn, County Durham, on Wednesday March 12.
He asked the youngster if she liked walks and told the youngster they would “go somewhere quiet and play”.
The 60-year-old, of Lawson Road, Bowburn, took the girl into nearby woods where he began stroking her hair and calling her “my baby”.
The court heard the girl quickly became frightened and started to cry and scream.
It was at this point that the girl’s mother called her mobile phone to check where she was. Durham Crown Court heard the girl was upset and told her distraught mum that she was lost.
Anne Richardson, prosecuting, said the mother ran to the park and called police before calling her daughter back.
Meanwhile, the girl tried to run but Luke would not let go of her hand. She later managed to free herself and ran back toward the park.
Ms Richardson said: “Her mother asked her daughter on the phone where she was.
“She could hear a male voice in the background saying [the girl] was in the park. She could hear her daughter screaming and crying and was frantic because clearly her daughter was not.”
The girl made her way back to the park and was described as “hysterical” and she ran into her mother’s arms.
Luke was in the background but was not spotted at first.
An investigation was launched, Luke was arrested and denied he had been in the park, but his victim and another girl who had been in the park picked the paedophile out of an identity parade.
Luke admitted abduction of a child but it was not until a later hearing that he also admitted sexual assault of a girl under 13.
A victim impact statement by the girl’s mother said: “This has been the worst experience of my life. It is something I will never forget and it will haunt me forever.”
Jailing Luke to four-and-a-half years, Judge Christopher Prince said Luke had been “infatuated” and had been waiting for an opportunity to arise to target the girl.
He added Luke told police a “pack of lies” to avoid detection and that Luke was a dangerous offender at high risk of targeting other youngsters.
Once released, Luke will serve another five years on licence. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and is also subject to a sexual offences prevention order.