Missing girl: man is charged

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Crime Correspondent

A man was charged yesterday with abducting a five-year-old girl who has been missing from her home since Sunday.

Police divers and mountain rescue teams were yesterday brought in to the search for Rosemary McCann, who disappeared from her home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where she had been sleeping alongside her brother.

Andrew Pountley, 31, a former boyfriend of Rosemary's mother, was charged with the girl's abduction. He is due to appear before magistrates in Oldham today. Mr Pountley, of Oldham, had been held for questioning shortly after the girl disappeared on Sunday. Rosemary was last seen in her bedroom dressed in her pyjamas.

Rosemary's mother, Josie Mahon, 26, made an emotional appeal yesterday for the public to respond to a police call to check garages, outbuildings and vehicles for her daughter.

"I am very, very worried," Mrs Mahon said. "All I want is my child back home. Please, please help the police find my child."

Detective Superintendent Ron Gaffey, who is leading the hunt, said yesterday that if anyone was holding her they should think about the pain they were causing her family.

He told a news conference: "It is now more than 48 hours since Rosemary was taken. With every minute and hour I am becoming more concerned.

"I am earnestly hoping she is still alive. It may be someone is holding her against her will or she is tied up alone somewhere."

An extensive search was extended yesterday to ponds and woodland near Rosemary's home.