Alan Hopkinson, 45, a former Mensa member, received nine life sentences yesterday after admitting abducting the girls and imprisoning them in his flat for four days. His abduction of the girls as they walked to school in a South Coast town in January sparked a search that only ended when police visited his home. They also found a map of local schools and a diary of his sexual fantasies in which Hopkinson had written: "Like smoking, sex offending is more difficult to stop once it's been started."
When he abducted the girls he was already being investigated for offences against children. Police intended to obtain an order stopping him associating with children. They have since admitted they could have handled the investigation differently, especially since Hopkinson had previously been sentenced to seven years after he kidnapped an 11-year-old girl at knifepoint as she walked home from school in 1990.
Yesterday Hopkinson, from Eastbourne, admitted two counts of kidnap, two of false imprisonment and nine assaults. He also admitted 11 counts of indecent assault, relating to two other girls. Other charges were ordered to lie on the file. At Lewes Crown Court Judge Richard Brown said: "The public now have the right to demand that this court does everything in its power to ensure that you will never again be free to present a risk to young children."
The father of one of the girls said she had nightmares about Hopkinson until two weeks ago: "It was horrific just listening to the charges ... Life to me might not be long enough - natural life perhaps, yes."
Charles Miskin QC, for the defence, said: "He has done wrong; he recognises that and has publicly affirmed it. He is very profoundly sorry."
Further reports, page 4