Friday, 21 Jun 2024

A man spoke to a toddler at Aldi. What happened next is every parent's nightmare

A man was jailed for trying to kidnap a three-year-old while he was grocery shopping with his mum.

The little boy ended up being saved by his older brother, aged just seven, who bravely ran after the child-snatcher.

Their mum saw Sergejus Paskevicius, 60, talking to her sons while he was packing his bags at the front of an Aldi, in Heywood, Rochdale, on July 23 last year.

She looked away to continue paying for her shopping at the till, before turning back to find Paskevicius walking off with her youngest son.

But the child’s older brother was quick to come to the rescue and managed to get his sibling free from Paskevicius by pulling on the little boy’s leg.

The man appeared to wave at the children before leaving the store, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

‘What should have been a normal day at the supermarket turned out to be our worst nightmare,’ the mum said.

The prosecution told how, when Paskevicius was arrested after a police appeal, he ‘could not say what he was doing or where he was going to go – he also said he may have had a bit to drink’.

The mum continued: ‘The psychological damage caused has been difficult for me to come to terms with.

‘My son refuses to go to sleep, he refuses to get out of the car. It has had a massive impact on our everyday lives. As a mother, you want to protect your children and keep them happy and healthy.

‘My son can’t go and do normal things like go to the park, to the circus, or to the shops. It’s not how my children should be living.’

Defence lawyer Robert Elias said his client, who has a grown-up child, may have ‘wanted some affection or a cuddle’ with the victim, who was described as a ‘beguiling young boy’.

Paskevicius pleaded guilty ‘to taking a child so as to remove him from a person having lawful control’ under the Child Abduction Act. He was jailed for three years and two months.

During sentencing, judge Tina Landale told him: ‘The fact that you are prepared to abduct a child in broad daylight in a supermarket is of the greatest concern.

‘There is no explanation offered for your conduct, that means I am unable to assess the risk you pose and what your intention was. This is properly described as every parent’s worst nightmare.’

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