Paedophile snatched boy, 8, in park and abused him in ‘den’ while mum searched
A paedophile snatched a schoolboy playing tennis before abusing him in a park den while his mum desperately led the search for him.
Shane Upton, 24, grabbed the lad in broad daylight as he skipped to a nearby toilet “without a care in the world” in Burgess Park, Camberwell, south east London.
The youngster had been happily enjoying his afternoon playing tennis before going off on his own to use a nearby café toilet.
He had told his mum he needed the toilet but was pounced on by Upton on June 17 this year.
A police helicopter and officers on horseback were deployed as part of the search when the frantic mum reported her son missing.
Upton locked the door to the men’s toilets from the inside, and forced the child to engage in sexual activity in the cubicle.
He then dragged the boy out of the building and walked him around the park where he sexually assaulted him in a ‘den’ made of twigs, thorns and flowers.
Upton told the boy his parents did not love him and had walked him to a Southwark Council building to help him get housed, but the building was closed.
Police officers eventually found Upton committing a sexual act on the boy in the bushes of the park, Inner London Crown Court heard.
The boy, now aged nine, was shaken and in tears while Upton immediately fled but was chased by officers and arrested after a struggle.
Upton was found guilty yesterday on Monday of five charges including kidnap and sexual assault on a child under 13 following a trial in his absence.
Adrian Amer, prosecuting, said: “If you could bear to imagine what it was like for him, if you can bear it, put yourselves in his position.
“You saw him merrily skipping along to the loo, an eight-year old boy presumably not a care in the world.
“He was preyed upon. He was pounced upon. He was sexually assaulted. He was kidnapped and the prosecution say he was further sexually assaulted.
“You saw him be cross-examined. You might think he has been through an ordeal. He did not do anything wrong.”
In the cafe toilet, Upton covered the child’s mouth and caused him to engage in a sexual act before leading him by the hand out an emergency exit.
Police were notified of the missing child when the boy’s mother became nervous he had not returned from the toilet after 15 minutes.
Mr Amer added: “Possibly by luck and good fortune, they were able to approach Mr Upton who was in the den.
“When emergency workers came on the scene, they were not mucking around. They were very serious in their intent because they knew at the time there had been possibly already a sexual assault and a kidnapping.”
Officers chased Upton across a field and held him down on the floor where a struggle ensued for some minutes.
Upton bit and spit blood at officers who punched and kicked him in a bid to prevent him from fleeing, a court heard.
Mr Amer said: “His reaction was to scarper from the scene and, boy, did he run.
“Why did he run from the scene? Because he knew he had done something wrong. He knew he had done something illegal.”
Jurors watched CCTV footage of Upton kidnapping the child and aerial footage of his arrest.
Summarising the case before the verdict, Judge Nigel Seed QC said: “He told his mother that when he took him, the man had told him that his parents did not love him.”
Upton was found guilty of kidnap, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence, two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and sexual assault of a child under 13 in Burgess Park.
The kidnapper was found not guilty of sexual assault of a child under 13 and two counts of assault on emergency workers by beating which referred to the two PCs who arrested him.
Upton, of no fixed address, is due to sentenced at Inner London Crown Court in the New Year.