Why was this danger to children allowed to walk free?
PUBLISHED: 10:55 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:22 03 March 2018
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A couple whose young daughter’s underwear was stolen by a man who went on to attempt to abduct a child said he should not have been allowed to walk free from court.
Homeless Matthew Reid, 59, was given a two-year community order after he admitted trying to lead the girl from a playground in King’s Lynn.
He also admitted taking the underwear and a charge of criminal damage, which was substituted for a charge of having sex with an animal after an incident involving a cockerel at Hunstanton.
Judge Andrew Shaw described Reid as “a very troubling individual” and said: “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.”
Reid lived near the girl whose underwear was taken and her family in Hunstanton. Her mother said: “How can they let him get away with it. We’re so angry, I can’t imagine how the other family feels.
“I just don’t understand how you can have someone who’s a danger to children - the incident here was bad enough, let alone when he went to King’s Lynn.
“Now he’s walking around King’s Lynn, no-one knows who he is. Wherever he is, he’s a danger. I can’t imagine how that other little girl’s family must be feeling. They must be fuming.”
The Crown Prosecution Service said Reid faced a serious charge of attempted child abduction which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment at Crown Court. It said the case was reviewed according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors – the standard by which all cases are assessed – and it was satisfied there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.
Deputy chief crown prosecutor Angela Deal said: “Given the allegation of an attempt to abduct a child from a public place, it was in the public interest to prosecute.
“When faced with the evidence against him, Mr Reid pleaded guilty to this charge and the court was provided with the full details of the offence.”
Of the other charges, unrelated to the attempted abduction, the CPS said it was satisfied that the guilty pleas showed Reid accepted he had committed the offences and that the court had sufficient sentencing powers.