A pensioner who kidnapped a nine-year-old girl after posing as a police officer was stopped in his tracks by a sharp-eyed local farmer.
Derek Cheeseman, 76, drove the child to a remote spot at Great Brickhill’s Rectory Farm and climbed into the back of the car with her.
But seconds later suspicious farmer Tom Turner turned up in his Range Rover, spotted the girl’s ‘worried’ face and called the police.
When Cheeseman went to drive away, 28-year-old Mr Turner tried to block his car on the track until police arrived to arrest him.
This week a Luton Crown Court jury heard evidence of the case in the absence of Cheeseman, who has terminal stomach cancer.
The jury heard he is in the hospital wing of Bedford Prison and has only months to live.
Earlier the little girl had told the hushed court how she was walking home at 4pm last November when the pensioner pulled up alongside her in his car.
The girl said: “He said, ‘are you from around here?’ and I said yes, and he said ‘get in the car’, so I got in the car and he said he was a policeman.”
The child added: “He said ‘I don’t look like a policeman do I because I am not wearing police clothes?’”
She said she became worried and started to cry as they drove away from her home town of Leighton Buzzard towards rural Great Brickhill.
“He put his hand in my hand because I was crying because he wouldn’t let me go back to my mum.
“He said: ‘Don’t be silly, I am not going to do anything’.”
At the farm the old man told the girl to get in the back of the car, saying: ‘You don’t need to be afraid, I am not going to harm you’, the court heard.
After Mr Turner intervened, Cheeseman told the child to pretend they were lost.
When police arrived, Cheeseman unlocked the passenger door and allowed a female police officer to remove the child from the car.
The pensioner, who carried children’s books on his back seat, had also tried to pick up two 12-year-old girls earlier the same month, the court heard.
The girls were walking home from a park in Stewkley when he pulled up in a blue Renault Scenic and offered to pay them £10 to walk his dogs, the court heard.
He drove off after the pair told him they would have to check first with their families. But a passing woman saw the roadside conversation and called the police with his registration number.
Cheeseman told the girls he lived in Bletchley but gave his address as Leighton Buzzard to police.
One of the girls told the court: “I said: Where do you live? and he said Bletchley.”
Cheeseman was accused of attempting to kidnap the two 12-year-olds and kidnapping the nine-year-old.
He was assessed as unfit to plead by psychiatrists for both the prosecution and defence.
After hearing the prosecution evidence the jury agreed Cheeseman had committed both acts charged against him.
Judge Mark Bishop said he was mindful to make a supervision order.
After the case, farmer Mr Turner said: “I’m just glad I spotted him and the girl. I dread to think what might have happened otherwise.”