Ab­duc­tion of child de­nied

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

A mid­dle-aged man ar­ranged for a school­girl to stay at a flat he was ren­o­vat­ing af­ter she ran away from home, a court heard.

Thomas Ire­land, 48, claimed he did not know where the 15-year-old was as po­lice car­ried out an ex­ten­sive search for her, it was al­leged.

But an of­fi­cer went to a for­mer pub that was be­ing turned into flats in Bower Lane, Maid­stone, al­most two weeks af­ter she dis­ap­peared and dis­cov­ered she was there.

Maid­stone Crown Court was told the girl, who can- not be iden­ti­fied, left a note for her fa­ther un­der her pil­low at her Med­way home last year ex­plain­ing she was un­happy and signed it: “Your dis­grace and dis­ap­point­ment of a daugh­ter.”

Af­ter a man­hunt was launched Ire­land was ques- tioned and said he hadn’t seen her and didn’t know where she could be.

Of­fi­cers searched his Rain­ham home and found pa­per­work re­lat­ing to the ad­dress in Bower Lane, where his van had been go­ing.

A po­lice of­fi­cer went there and saw a child at the win­dow. He went to the door of the flat and the girl opened it.

The pros­e­cu­tion case is that he took the girl away from the care of her fa­ther with­out any rea­son­able ex­cuse

Ire­land de­nies child ab­duc­tion. The trial con­tin­ues.

For­mer pub­lic house on Bower Lane

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