Sex predator ‘tried to grab girl on beach’

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court
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A predatory sex offender tried to snatch a 10-year-old girl off a Blackpool beach, just a day after he sexually assaulted a younger girl in the amusement arcade on South Pier.

Christopher Wright, 38, lay in wait for the schoolgirl who was playing with three friends while holidaying in the resort.

As the four girls left the beach, the girl stopped to adjust her shoe while her three friends crossed the road.

But as she leaned down, Wright grabbed her from behind putting his arm around her waist in an attempt to kidnap her.

Security staff had spotted Wright lurking under the pier watching the girls play, after his photograph had been circulated the previous day.

A seven-year-old girl – also on holiday with her family – had been playing on the 2p slot machines, but when she was momentarily separated from the adults she was with, Wright moved in and pinched the young girl’s bottom

Judge Heather Lloyd, sentencing at Preston crown Court, said: “This was no prank. You did this for your own sexual gratification.

“You lay in wait for her and took your chance when she was momentarily left alone.”

Wright pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault of girls under 13 and a separate charge of attempted kidnap.

When interviewed by a probabation officer he admitted he had grabbed the 10-year-old intending to carry out a serious sexual attack against her.

He said he had been attracted to her as her clothes were wet and he liked the way she moved.

As the young girl struggled to escape Wright’s grip, security guards stepped in and detained the pervert.

The youngster ran away and was seen by an older woman who described her as being “distraught, totally frightened and terrified.”

The court heard Wright, of no fixed address, has a long standing drink and drugs problem and was drunk at the time he committed the offences.

But Judge Lloyd told him: “Even if you were intoxicated with drink or drugs, your behaviour towards these little girls can not be explained by that.

“Most men who are drunk do not act or think as you did towards these girls.”

In a victim impact statement, the older girl’s mother described how her daughter had completely changed since the incident and had become clingy and struggling to go to school.

The younger girl had her family holiday ruined when she had to identify Wright at the police station and face having to give evidence in court before Wright pleaded guilty on the day he was due to stand trial.

Judge Lloyd told him: “You are a lonely man with an itinerant lifestyle with many disadvantages, not helped by the fact you drink and take drugs.

“You are inadequate. I am told you are thoroughly ashamed. You lay in wait for both of your victims.

“You are a dangerous offender and there is a serious risk you will commit further offences.”

She handed Wright a seven and a half year extended sentence with a custodial period of four and a half years before he is eligible to apply for parole.