Harlow man jailed for attempting to sexually assault a child he abducted

Crime / Sat 28th Oct 2017 at 03:11pm

John Mercer

A man has been jailed for five years after abducting a child and attempting to sexually assault her.

John Mercer, 30, of Quarry Spring, Harlow, was charged with abducting a child, attempted sexual assault, and three counts of making indecent images of children.

He pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court on Sunday, July 17 and was sentenced on Friday, October 27 to five years in jail in total.

He must also sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and was made subject of a sexual harm prevention order, which will run indefinitely.

The court heard that on Saturday, June 17, Mercer approached a girl who was out playing with friends.

When she was alone, he walked her to a wooded area where he said he wanted to talk to her about sex and attempted to touch her.

The distressed and frightened girl ran off and informed her parents.

When police arrested Mercer, they found images of child pornography on an online file he had access to through his mobile phone. Many of these were of the most serious category.

Speaking after the hearing, investigating officer Dc Alana McCreath said: “Mercer subjected a young girl to an extremely terrifying ordeal. Fortunately she quickly realised that she was in danger and ran home.

“Although she was not physically harmed, his actions have left her and her family deeply distressed and traumatised.

“I want to pay tribute to her bravery and courage throughout this investigation.

“These were very serious offences and the judge described in court how Mercer’s actions were every parent’s worst nightmare.

“I hope the sentence passed gives the victim some reassurance to know he is behind bars.”

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