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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Paedophile admits toddler kidnap
General scene in Rumney, Cardiff
The girl was abducted from the Rumney area of Cardiff
A convicted paedophile has admitted abducting a toddler, assaulting her and driving her more than 100 miles from her home in Cardiff.

At the time Craig Sweeney, 24, was staying in a bail hostel after being released early from jail for indecently assaulting a six-year-old.

"He claims his actions come from this darker side of the human psyche," said defence counsel David Leathley.

Sentencing was adjourned until 12 May. Sweeney was remanded in custody.

The court heard that Sweeney - at the time living in a hostel in Newport - abducted the child from her house in the Rumney area of Cardiff on 2 January.

Appearing in court via video-link from Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire, he admitted four charges of kidnap, three of sexual assault and one of dangerous driving.

Police in the Rumney area of Cardiff on Wednesday
House-to-house inquiries in Rumney following the abduction

Sweeney said he sexually assaulted the child twice after snatching her from her home and driving her over the border to England.

It was there that officers pursued him after he jumped a red light. Soon after, he crashed his car during a chase on the A4 between Hungerford and Marlborough.

The child, who had been thrown from the car, was airlifted to hospital. While not seriously hurt in the crash, police said she had sustained significant injuries.

Sweeney's defence counsel David Leathley said his client did not see himself "as harbouring a sexual problem".

The court heard that Sweeney was jailed in 2003 for indecently assaulting a six-year-old girl while babysitting.

Judge John Griffiths-Williams, the Recorder of Cardiff, said that he had two sentencing options available which were life imprisonment or imprisoning Sweeney for public protection.

The three-year-old's family, who were in court on Friday, said that the child was "doing as well as can be expected".

Det Insp Paul Hurley of South Wales Police said after the case: "This incident was particularly shocking and disturbing but thankfully very rare in Cardiff."


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