Chippenham man sentenced for abducting boy
4:00pm Monday 9th September 2013 in Latest News
A 63-year-old man who abducted a vulnerable child has been put on a conditional discharge by a judge.
David Dobson 'detained' the 15-year-old in his Chippenham flat in February this year despite being warned by the police to have nothing to do with the lad.
But after saying it appeared to be a case of the lad bunking off school and going to see the man Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC imposed the one year order.
The sentence means he will not face punishment for the matter unless he commits another offence during the next 12 months.
The judge said: "If it is for another boy or this boy then the next court will know that I have got it wrong and you are a good deal more sinister than I see it now."
Rob Welling, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that the parents of the victim had become increasingly concerned about his relationship with Dobson.
He said the lad has a number of learning difficulties and when he struck up the friendship with Dobson a couple of years ago his parents thought it wasn't unhealthy.
However as time passed they because increasingly anxious about the intensity of the friendship as the boy was 'easily led'.
Because of their fears they arranged for an 'abduction notice' to be served on the defendant via the police telling him to keep away from the lad.
Mr Welling said the wording made it clear that should he present on his doorstep Dobson must call the police and social services.
He said on Thursday February 21 the boy's mum was alerted that he was not at school and when she called his mobile she didn't believe what he said.
It was clear he was with Dobson so shortly before 9pm, after he had failed to come home, she and the boy's dad went to the defendant's flat and waited outside in the car.
Shortly after the lad came out of the front door and, seeing his parents, rushed back inside as they called the police.
When officers arrived Dobson told them the lad had arrived at the flat 'literally minutes' earlier and fled through the back door.
However the teenager was found hiding in the garden and later told them he had been with the defendant since 2pm that day helping put up shelves.
A note found in the lad's writing said 'If it is OK with you would you be able to get some fags for things I have put up and I have been in a good mood' with a reply on the back from Dobson saying 'Yes, tomorrow morning'.
The boy, who has now turned 16, told the police he had been seeing Dobson on a regular basis and he would feed him when he visited.
Dobson, of Popham Court, Wood Lane, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to a charge of child abduction.
He denied a charge of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and prosecutors offered no evidence.
Mike Jeary, defending, said his client accepted allowing the boy into the flat when he should be at school amounted to abduction.
"In very simple terms he was told exactly what he should do if he turns up, in very plain English. He didn't. The moment he allowed him to stay he detained him," he said He said his client, who spent some time in custody in remand, had now moved to Kent and did not plan to return to the Chippenham area.