Judge says risks of 'very dangerous individual' who attempted to abduct girl from Norfolk park were ignored
PUBLISHED: 09:31 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:50 24 February 2018
There are more questions today over why an attempted child abductor who was branded a "very dangerous individual" by a judge has been released back into the community.
Homeless man Matthew Reid admitted attempting to abduct an eight-year-old girl from a park in King’s Lynn as well as outraging public decency.
The 59-year-old was given a two-year community order by Judge Andrew Shaw who criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for its handling of the case.
He said: “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.”
The comments came as 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 but admitted an amended charge of criminal damage.
Following the judge’s remarks the CPS insisted the judge had sufficient sentencing powers.
CPS Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Angela Deal said: “Matthew Reid faced a serious charge of attempted child abduction which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment at Crown Court. The case was reviewed according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors – the standard by which all cases are assessed – and we were satisfied there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. 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, and even allowing for the amended criminal damage charge which was accepted by the prosecution, she said: “We were satisfied that the guilty pleas showed the defendant accepted he had committed the offences and that the court had sufficient sentencing powers”
Sir Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk MP, said he did not want to criticise the judge in the case, but admitted the sentence was “surprising”.
He said: “This does seem to be a surprisingly light sentence given that we’re taking about attempted abduction which is a very serious offence.
“I do find it surprising that Matthew Reid is going to be remaining in the community and i think there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to find this quite unsatisfactory.”