Man jailed for luring young boy to his Pitsea flat

Jailed – Michael Saunders

Jailed – Michael Saunders

First published in Echo News by , Reporter

A MAN has been jailed for 11 months after luring a boy to his flat with the promise of cakes, sweets and petting his dog.

Michael Saunders, 47, admitted one count of child abduction when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court.

Worried neighbours who saw Saunders take the child alerted his parents, who rushed round to get him back.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was unharmed.

Saunders, from Pitsea, was jailed for ten months for child abduction and one month for breaching a conditional discharge when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court.

He was also made subject of a restraining order and must not contact the boy or his family for ten years.

The court heard the victim was playing in the street outside his Pitsea home on August 8 last year. Saunders was walking his dog when the boy asked if could take the animal to the shops.

The court heard Saunders agreed, but said he would have to ask the boy’s parents for permission.

He said the boy had to go with him to his flat so he could write down his contact details.

The boy expected to find sweets and cake in the flat, but when he arrived, there was nothing except an open laptop computer. A couple of minutes later, they left the flat after Saunders spotted the boy’s father and a group of neighbours making their way over.

Saunders admitted one count of child abduction.

A second count of child abduction was ordered to lie on file.

There were images of male pornography in Saunders’ flat, but it is not believed the boy saw them, the court heard.

Saunders initially faced sexual allegations in relation to the incident, but these were later dropped.

Addressing him, Judge John Lodge said: “You, as a much older man, invited a boy in to your flat and you must have appreciated that you caused considerable concern and distress to the boy’s parents because they did not know where he was.

“This offence is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”

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