Child abductor challenged to 'prove himself' to avoid jail

A MAN who abducted a schoolboy just weeks after being served with an official warning to leave him alone could yet avoid jail, after a judge challenged him to ‘prove himself’ during four weeks in a bail hostel.

Daniel Baker, 19, was served with a Child Abduction Warning Notice (CAWN) ordering him not to associate with a 15-year-old boy who often ran away from home on May 28, after the boy’s mother became concerned he was a bad influence, Durham Crown Court heard today (December 7).

Nevertheless, after a chance meeting in Durham City on July 10, Baker twice called the boy – asking him to buy him some cannabis, Deborah Sherwin, prosecuting, said.

The boy’s mother raised the alarm after he failed to arrive home from school at 2.40pm as expected.

Baker was found at about 8.50pm with the boy and another 15-year-old boy, Miss Sherwin said.

He had a small amount of cannabis on him and was arrested.

Baker, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to child abduction.

Jamie Adams, for Baker, said his client had endured a difficult early life and had nowhere to stay, living a transient life between the North-East, Leeds and the Midlands.

He found it difficult to be in the company of people his own age, preferring those younger, and had misunderstood his CAWN, Mr Adams continued.

Judge Paul Watson QC told Baker, who has a number of previous convictions, child abduction was always a serious offence but in his case there was emphatically no sexual motive. Rather, the association may have been one of friendship, the judge said.

A short custodial sentence followed by release without assistance could be lead to further offending, Judge Watson continued, and he said he would offer Baker a chance to introduce some order into his life by adjourning sentence for four weeks and sending him to a bail hostel in Middlesbrough, where he will be assessed by the probation service.

“You’ve got four weeks in which to prove yourself. If you take this opportunity, it may be that you can make something of your life,” he said.

Baker was made the subject of a restraining order and will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court on Friday, January 4.

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