A convicted sex offender has admitted snatching a Burnley schoolgirl off the street and bundling her into the boot of his car with the intention of committing a sexual offence against her.
Imran Khan (34) has previously served a nine-year sentence for child abduction and sexual offences against an older schoolgirl and was the subject of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO) when he kidnapped the six-year-old on March 26th.
While we have rigorous systems in place to manage sex offenders who have served a sentence and been released into the community, this cannot happen 24 hours a day and unfortunately on occasion an offender may go on to commit a further offence as happened in this caseDet. Insp. Jim Elston
The girl, who can not be identified for legal reasons, was riding her bike in the Nairn Street area, with her older brother around 4pm, when Khan struck up conversation with her.
The sex offender told her he had lost his ball underneath the Vauxhall Astra he was driving and asked her to help him find it.
But, as the girl crouched down to peer under the vehicle, Khan grabbed her and bundled her into the boot of the car before driving off down Accrington Road - leaving the little girl’s bike abandoned in the road.
Khan drove the girl to an isolated industrial estate in the Scarth Lane area where he attempted to incite her to engage in sexual activity with him.
He then put her back into the boot of the car and drove to ,Hapton where he dumped her in a wheelie bin, four miles from her home.
The terrified youngster managed to escape from the bin and was found by children playing nearby in a traumatised and distressed state.
They took her to their parents who alerted police, just as the girl’s own parents were reporting her missing.
The girl was reunited with her parents and a major incident investigationlaunched.
CCTV retrieved from a number of sites showed Khan’s black Astra in the area.
He was arrested at his home in Pendle Street, Accrington, and the car seized from outside. Forensic examination of the vehicle matched fibres from the little girl’s top to fibres found in the boot of the car.
Two diamantes which matched gems from her sandles, were also found in the vehicle.
Khan denied the offences but pleaded guilty to kidnap, breaching the terms of his SOPO and commiting an offence, namely kidnap, with the intention of committing a sexual offence, at Preston Crown Court.
Dressed in a black sweater and pants he spoke only to confirm his name and enter his guilty pleas.
Judge Simon Newell ordered a pre-sentence report to determine the issue of dangerousness and the length and type of prison sentence, which he said was “inevitable.”
Speaking after Khan’s conviction, Det Insp Elston said: “The victim has shown great courage throughout the ordeal which must have been extremely terrifying for her.”
He also praised the youngsters who found her and took her home.
Det. Insp. Elston said: “This was a horrendous offence which would have been terrifying for any adult, let alone a young child.
“We continue to offer support to the victim and her family and welcome today’s verdict and look forward to a sentence which reflects the gravity of Khan’s offending.
“Imran Khan was a Registered Sex Offender living in the community after he was convicted in 2008 of a sexual offence involving a 12-year-old girl.
“While we have rigorous systems in place to manage sex offenders who have served a sentence and been released into the community, this cannot happen 24 hours a day and unfortunately on occasion an offender may go on to commit a further offence as happened in this case. Thankfully that is relatively rare.
“There is currently a review on-going into this particular case and we will clearly look carefully at the results of that to see if there are any lessons we can learn.
“In Lancashire we have specialist teams of police officers and staff who lead the management of sexual offenders in our communities. In addition, those considered to be of a certain level of risk are managed by various agencies including the police, probation, and the prison service through multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA).
“Eligible MAPPA offenders are identified and information about them is shared by the agencies in order to inform the risk assessments and risk management plans of those managing or supervising them.”
Khan is due to be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday, October 23rd.
How the shocking story developed: