The Press in York has launched a campaign for a law change that would see child kidnappers put on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
While covering a court case, The Press uncovered an anomaly that means defendants charged with child kidnap or attempted kidnap cannot have orders made against them.
Along with Sara Payne’s charity, Phoenix, the paper will now lobby the Home Secretary to reconsider the legislation and introduce a stranger abduction bill.
Press editor Kevin Booth said: “The Home Office has indicated that it will look into the issue, but, to keep the pressure up, we launched a petition which I am sure will be supported by parents and concerned citizens everywhere.”
Current child abduction legislation is only designed for instances where a parent takes a child away from another parent, not a stranger snatching a child.
The offence is not listed under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which means offenders cannot be put on the Sex Offenders’ Register or have any restriction orders placed upon them.
Nor is child abduction specified under the Criminal Justice Act, which includes offences such as murder and rape, and allows orders to be made against dangerous individuals.
The case that brought the issue to light was that of Terry Delaney who tried to kidnap a 13-yearold girl and was convicted by a jury of attempted child abduction.
Victim Natalie Hick, who gave up her right to anonymity to talk about the ordeal after The Press overturned a Section 39 order, said she believed he would go on the Sex Offender’s Register, but it was not the case.
Judge Paul Hoffman, sentencing Delaney for four years at York Crown Court last week, said he was “concerned”
he could not make any order restraining or prohibiting his conduct.