Dec 2010

Paedophile dressed as policeman tried to abduct schoolboy by ‘taking him for questioning’

A shopkeeper stopped a convicted paedophile as he tried to abduct a schoolboy while posing as a police officer.

Brandon Cunningham, 20, put on a stab vest and impersonated a CID detective when he approached the 15-year-old boy as he bought sweets from a newsagents.

He searched the teenager and ‘arrested’ him before taking his house keys and marching him away for questioning.

Harekrishna Patel, the quick-thinking shopkeeper who knew the boy, stepped in when he became suspicious.

He confronted Cunningham and when he was unable to produce a police ID badge he called for the real police who came and arrested him.

Now Cunningham is starting a 15 month prison sentence for trying to abduct the schoolboy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Prosecutor Stephen Crouch said Cunningham, who has previous convictions for sexual offences against children, may have been watching the teenager for some time.

‘He said he needed him to go outside and speak to him about him picking a lock,’ he said.

‘This slightly surprised the boy because the day before he had left his front door keys at home and had tried to get in that way.

‘There’s an indication the boy had been kept under observation the previous day.’

‘As the youth was searched and taken away, Mr Patel had a feeling something was not right and set off in pursuit, confronting Cunningham who was unable to produce police ID, so he intervened by holding on to the bogus officer until the police arrived.’

Cunningham from Northampton, admitted child abduction in Northampton and was sentenced to 15 months’ detention.

Brandon Cunningham was jailed for 15 months after pretending to be a police officer to abduct a schoolboy

The judge, Recorder Michael Elsom, said Cunningham’s autism and Asperger’s Syndrome had undoubtedly led to offending.

He added: ‘No one should think I do not view this as a serious offence.

‘The length of time it lasted was not that long but just think what it was like for that young lad.

‘Think for a moment what must have been going through his mind as you led him away. Put yourself in his mind.

‘Just think what you would have thought had someone done that to you.’

Mr Patel has been recommended for a High Sheriff’s bravery award for his actions on July 2 this year in both preventing the abduction and ensuring Cunningham’s arrest.

Recorder Elsom added: ‘It seems to me Mr Patel behaved well beyond the call of duty.