Thursday, January 12, 2006

Detectives have been granted a further 36 hours to hold one of three men on suspicion of kidnap and rape of a three-year-old taken from her home.

The men are being held in Cardiff after the girl was allegedly abducted from the Rumney area of the city on Monday.

A 26-year-old was arrested after a police chase in Wiltshire early on Tuesday. Two others, aged 34 and 47, had already been arrested in Wales.

Officers are continuing a forensic examination of a property in Newport.

Gwent Probation Service has confirmed that the property was used to house newly-released prisoners.

Northumbria Police investigating the abduction of a six-year-old girl in Tyneside have confirmed they are liaising with detectives in south Wales.

For over a week they have been trying to trace a man who snatched the girl from the bath of her home and left her screaming and naked in an alley. She had been sexually assaulted.

South Wales Police were granted more time to hold a 47-year-old suspect on Thursday morning. They had already been given an extra 36 hours to question the two other men.

The allegations are horrendous and I would urge anyone who has further information to contact us
Det Supt Paul Kemp

They believe the three-year-old was raped after being taken from her home between 1900 and 2300 GMT on Monday.

A member of the toddler's family told BBC Wales she is doing okay under the circumstances and that she did not really understand what had happened.

The relative added that the child - who has not wanted to return home to Rumney - was "very quiet and hasn't said very much at all".

A 34-year-old man was arrested first at 0023 on Tuesday.

Police were then looking for a certain car when colleagues in Wiltshire spotted the L-registered grey Ford Escort going through a red traffic lights without headlights on near Marlborough.

They pursued the car along the M4 for about four miles where it left at junction 15 before heading for 10 miles down the A4 towards Hungerford where it crashed.

The driver of the car was arrested at the scene at 0340 GMT. By that stage a third man, aged 47, had already been arrested in Cardiff.

The child was airlifted to hospital from the scene. Although she was not badly hurt in the collision, she is said to have sustained other significant injuries.

House-to-house inquiries are ongoing in Rumney

Police are continuing house-to-house inquiries in Rumney and said they were pursuing "a number of lines of inquiry".

Superintendent Josh Jones, Deputy Divisional Commander for Cardiff, said: "This is an extremely rare event which makes it all the more shocking.

"Rumney is a close-knit community and we ask the residents to work closely with us in providing any information that they can. We will continue to provide a very visible police presence in the area."

Speaking outside Cardiff Central Police Station on Wednesday, Detective Superintendent Paul Kemp said: "The allegations are horrendous and I would urge anyone who has further information to contact us."

The incident room can be reached on 02920 222111 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Known paedophiles are to be questioned over the abduction of a six-year-old girl from her North Tyneside home.

Police are hunting a middle-aged man wearing dark clothes and gloves who snatched the child from a ground floor bathroom on Tuesday evening.

She was found naked in an alleyway in Willington Quay near her home a short time later, too cold to speak.

Police also urged the man responsible to give himself up and "get this off your chest" before being caught.

Det Ch Insp Jim Napier, who is leading the hunt said: "From the girl's account, somebody has been brazen enough to enter her house, take her away undressed and then assaulted her in a manner which is clearly sexually motivated, and then leave her in this lane, in the dark, on her own.

"There were a lot of children playing in the area at the time the girl was taken and we would ask anyone who saw a man taking an unhealthy interest in them and watching to get in touch.

"This man is clearly extremely dangerous as he was willing to take the risk of going into a house to take the girl.

"I would say to this individual, come forward now and get this off your chest before we find you.

"I have a team of highly-trained, experienced detectives who are determined to bring this investigation to a swift conclusion."

Crying and crying

He said the girl would spend Friday with her family to have a "rest" after enduring hours of questioning by police.

The victim's grandmother, from County Durham, told the Daily Mail newspaper: "She seems to be coping well, though you never know what is going on underneath.

"She has been talking about the nasty man who took her away from the house and the nice man who found her crying.

"I just pray this man has not taken her innocence away. We have all been crying and crying but we all know it could have been even worse. We could have lost her, she was out there stark naked."

Mr Napier also said police patrols in the area had been stepped up to try to make local residents feel safe.

He added: "People round here will understandably be worried. I think it is important that they are vigilant, particularly in terms of knowing where their children are."

Officers are also keen to confirm reports of a car being driven erratically with screeching brakes between 1900 and 1930 GMT on Tuesday.

Glitter 'had sex with girl, 12'

An arrest warrant was issued for Gary Glitter last week
Ex-glam rock star Gary Glitter has been accused of having sex with two girls, one aged 12, police in Vietnam said.
Police said the girls, 12 and 18, said in police interviews they had sex with Glitter, 61, at his Vung Tau home.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the second girl had turned 18 - the legal age of consent in Vietnam.

Glitter, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, has not been charged and remains in custody. If convicted he could be jailed for up to 12 years.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the arrest of a British national and consular support is being provided."

Under Vietnamese law, sexual contact with a minor carries varying degrees of penalty, depending on the charge.

'Lewd acts'

The 1970s rocker was held on suspicion of "lewd acts" with children after an arrest warrant was issued last week.

He was stopped at Ho Chi Minh City airport on Saturday by an official who recognised him from media coverage.

"Obscene acts with a child" can lead to 12 years imprisonment while child rape carries the maximum penalty of death before a firing squad.

A police officer in Vung Tua said: "Having sex with a 12-year-old girl, regardless of whether he had her consent, is still considered child rape under Vietnamese law."

Police would not confirm whether either of the girls claimed they were paid for sex.

British consular officials visited Glitter in Vung Tau, the coastal town where he has lived for six months, following his arrest.

A Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesman said after Glitter's arrest that authorities had interviewed a 15-year-old girl they had found at his home.

British officials earlier confirmed that Glitter would have access to a lawyer.

They described the Vietnamese authorities as very co-operative.

Vung Tua police said on Monday they were continuing to investigate the case and are to question the singer further.

Glitter was found guilty in the UK in 1999 of possessing child pornography and served two months in jail.