Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Specialists Tease out Girl's Dark Kidnapping Secrets

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Specialists Tease out Girl's Dark Kidnapping Secrets

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brenda Hickman

Specialist officers are teasing out the terrifying secrets held by the little girl snatched from her bath.

As the hunt for her attacker is stepped up today, vital work of the officers who help gain the trust of young sex assault victims was outlined by Northumbria police.

Like every officer on the team hunting the girl's attacker, the two women detectives trying to coax the youngster into revealing more about the man, both want him caught.

The girl's ordeal ended when the paedophile dumped her naked in an alleyway just a few streets away from her home in Willington Quay, North Tyneside, eight days ago.

She had been bundled into his car and driven on a circular route around Wallsend for about three miles.

Using delicate counselling techniques, the officers are bonding with the girl.

Vital information they have so far gathered has been passed on to the investigation team, led by Det Chief Insp Jim Napier.

Although police stress attacks like this are rare, the girl's ordeal bears chilling similarities to the abduction of two girls of five and four who were snatched from near their homes in Newcastle a decade ago.

The youngsters, although taken from separate areas four months apart in 1995, both ended up dumped semi-naked 40 miles away in Darlington, Co Durham.

Despite a massive manhunt, the kidnapper was never caught. The girls' parents suffered the same trauma experienced by the family of the North Tyneside girl.

Both the girls' mothers spoke exclusively to the Chronicle of their anguish at the time, and the detective constable who became a favourite "auntie" to the five-year-old gave an insight into the role she played.

Det Con Sharon Cantle, then based at Newburn, said: "We have to establish a bond of trust with young victims.

"This girl has been very brave and she has told us as much as she can.

"I have been trained to talk to children in these circumstances but a child of five can't logically judge time or break down events in order."

Sharon's gentle manner enabled her to become a close friend of the girl. …

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