Mother in appeal for help to trap 'evil man' catch girl's kidnapper

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The mother of a four-year-old girl who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted during a 17-hour ordeal yesterday appealed for information to help catch her child's attacker.

The 25-year-old woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was speaking for the first time since her daughter was found after being abandoned 40 miles from home.

"This evil man took my little girl away, sexually assaulted her and left her to wander around in a strange town," she said. "He needs to be caught now. The police are doing all they can but they need help."

The child was seized near her home on the New Mills Estate, Newcastle upon Tyne, on Monday and was left in Bulmer Square, Darlington, Co Durham, the next day.

The abduction has been linked to an incident in May when a five-year- old girl was grabbed in Newcastle and dumped in the same area of Darlington.

The mother, speaking yesterday at a news conference at Newcastle's West End police station, said of her daughter: "She has been able to give just the barest of details of what happened to her. She is blacking out sections of it. She just said the man took her a long way away.

"The man who did this must be someone's son, he may be married. Someone must know who he is or at least have their suspicions. Please ring the police and help if you can."

The victim's mother spoke of how the child had been playing outside when she disappeared. When she realised the girl was missing, she called the police about 8.15pm and a search was carried out on the estate.

"Everybody started to panic, I thought she was dead. They found a piece of clothing in the park. They brought it to me to identify but it wasn't hers."

Asked about how her daughter was coping, she said: "She is very, very traumatised and will have to see a psychologist."

A woman detective has been with the child since trying to coax details from her about the kidnapper and what happened during the 17 hours she was missing. Later, on BBC Radio Newcastle, the mother said: "They are just playing a game, that is the way she is looking at it. The police officer is her best friend at the moment. She just plays with her all the time.

"She seems to be thinking about it a lot but doesn't want to talk about it. She is trying to put it to the back of her mind."

Speaking about the effect on the family, the mother said: "Every member of my family has really gone to pieces through this. My husband has taken it really badly."

She described the kidnapper as "an animal, a monster ... he is not human, he cannot be. I would not want any other mother in the world to go through what I have been through."

Her advice to other parents of small children was: "Keep a close eye on your kids. My daughter never wandered off, she never talked to strangers. He managed to get her, he will get anybody."

Meanwhile, a local newspaper has offered a pounds 10,000 reward in the hunt for the attacker.