A PAEDOPHILE from Rugby has finally been jailed for sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl he snatched off the street 15 years ago.
Arnold Baxter, 72, of Bath Street, pleaded guilty to kidnap and indecent assault and was sentenced to nine years in prison at Stafford Crown Court.
He will also be put on the Sex Offender’s Register for life and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order upon his release. He must serve at least two-thirds of his nine-year sentence.
DNA evidence finally led police to Baxter, who kidnapped the girl as she was playing outside her house in the village of Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire, in March 2001.
Baxter, who was 56 at the time of the incident, subjected her to a “horrifying ordeal” before dumping her alone in nearby Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire.
The incident was featured on the BBC Crimewatch TV programme after the girl was able to provide significant details.
He was finally linked to the attack after police took a DNA sample from him when he was arrested for drink-driving in September last year.
The sample matched forensic material recovered from the girl’s clothing in 2001.
Sentencing, Judge Mark Eades, said: “This sort of crime is every parent’s worst nightmare. A girl of six who was playing outside in a quiet village was preyed upon by a man who had driven a long way in a car with false plates.”
Speaking after the sentencing, DI Glyn Pattinson, who led the investigation, said: “Our investigation uncovered the true extent of Baxter’s character and his unhealthy addiction to sex.
“He was a sexual predator who put a great deal of effort and time into planning the abduction of the victim.
“She has shown nothing but courage throughout the entire police investigation and has become a strong young woman, raised not as a victim, but as a caring, considerate and kind individual who completely contrasts the darkness of her perpetrator in every way possible.”
The victim’s mother said: “My daughter has spent these last 15 years of her life growing into the beautiful and successful person that she is today and will continue to be in the years to come.
“In spite of – or perhaps because of – her kind and generous nature, my daughter fully deserves to have this moment – to know that the man who is none of these things, a man who thinks it’s acceptable to kidnap, assault and abandon a vulnerable six-year old child, has finally been called to account for his actions and will now be punished for them.
“Mr Baxter has spent the last 15 years of his life continuing to go about his day-to-day business and taking advantage of the things he enjoys in life. I can only imagine that even the most mundane of pleasures must always have been tainted somewhat by the knowledge that one day his enjoyment of them must come to an end.”
An NSPCC spokesman said: “Baxter is a dangerous predator who snatched his young victim when she was playing and subjected her to a horrifying ordeal.
“This case shows once again that abusers like Baxter can be brought to justice, no matter how long has passed since the offences happened.”