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Friday, 23 February 2018

Judge criticises prosecutors as would-be child abductor is spared prison

Written by Sam Russell

A homeless man who attempted to abduct an eight-year-old girl from a park has been released into the community.

Judge Andrew Shaw said 59-year-old Matthew Reid was a "very troubling individual", and he criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for its handling of the case as he sentenced Reid to a two-year community order.

Reid admitted at an earlier hearing to an attempted abduction in King's Lynn, Norfolk and to outraging public decency.

Norwich Crown Court heard Reid grabbed the child's hand and said "you're coming with me", and was later found by police with his trousers round his ankles and holding his penis.

Reid claimed he was "going for a pee", his barrister Matthew McNiff said.

Reid was also sentenced for separate offences in Hunstanton, after admitting the theft of girl's clothing from a washing line and for an incident involving chickens.

Reid was originally charged with intercourse with an animal, which he denied.

The CPS amended the charge to one of criminal damage, which Reid admitted.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said a woman found chickens in her coop were "in a state of distress, making a lot of noise which she described as unusual" and called police.

"A cockerel was found inside the defendant's flat," Mr Ivory said.

Judge Andrew Shaw, sentencing, told Reid: "You're someone about whom I have the utmost concern and papers available to me indicate that you are a very troubling individual indeed and young children are at significant risk from you.

"The CPS appear to me to have ignored these risks and allowed you to plead guilty to a handful of minor and technical offences.

"I'm not going to say any more about them.

"I'm simply going to impose a two-year community order on all counts concurrently."

He ordered Reid to complete 60 days of rehabilitation activities, and ordered him to report to the probation office in King's Lynn on Friday.

He added: "I'm simply not prepared to see you released into the community without anybody keeping tabs on you."

Reid had been in custody since August 2017 while awaiting his court hearing.

Mr McNiff, mitigating, said Reid was "in drink" at the time of the attempted abduction and was homeless at the time.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Stephen Pond / PA Wire.