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“It will be a relief to many that this man is in prison and unable to commit serious offences against children”

The father of a girl kidnapped and sexually assaulted in Barton-under-Needwood more than 15 years ago has spoken of his relief after a man was jailed for nine years.

An historic image of Arnold Baxter released by police

An historic image of Arnold Baxter released by police

Arnold Baxter, aged 72, of Bath Street, Rugby, admitted the 2001 offence after a DNA sample taken when he was caught drink-driving linked him to the attack.

The girl’s father said after the sentencing thanked police for continuing the hunt for Baxter.

“It is with great relief to know that Mr Baxter has been finally caught and sentenced for the abduction and assault of my daughter carried out in 2001 when she was just 6-years-old,” he said. “It will be of great relief to many that this man is in prison and unable to commit these serious offences against children.”

The girl’s mother also said she hoped Baxter would use his time behind bars to reflect on his actions.

She added: “My daughter has spent these last 15 years of her life growing into the beautiful and successful person that she is today and will continue to be in the years to come.

“The young woman she’s become is a person who regularly takes five minutes out of her day to stop and help people she’s never even met before – she’ll stop and have a chat with a homeless person or take a few minutes to help an elderly lady find the right bus stop.

Arnold Baxter

Arnold Baxter

“In spite of – or perhaps because of – her kind and generous nature, my daughter fully deserves to have this moment; to know that the man who is none of these things, a man who thinks it’s acceptable to kidnap, assault and abandon a vulnerable six-year old child, has finally been called to account for his actions and will now be punished for them.

“Mr Baxter has spent the last 15 years of his life continuing to go about his day-to-day business and taking advantage of the things he enjoys in life. I can only imagine that even the most mundane of pleasures must always have been tainted somewhat by the knowledge that one day his enjoyment of them must come to an end.

“As he now faces the prospect of spending much – if not all – of his remaining years in custody, I hope that he makes good use of this time, perhaps by encouraging other offenders to address their own offending behaviour so that they can achieve the rehabilitation that he himself will be denied.”

She also paid tribute to police officers for their efforts to finally bring Baxter to justice.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Staffordshire Police for all the hard work that’s gone into making this day possible,” she said. “I would also like to thank them for the support that they have given our family, both in the immediate aftermath of the offence in 2001 and in these last few months also.

“At a time when this country’s police force regularly faces so much negative publicity, I feel it’s even more important to recognise examples of just how amazing they really can be.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.