July 2014

Man is jailed ‘for abducting teen’

A prolific criminal who took a 14-year-old girl away with him for the weekend without her parents’ knowledge has been jailed.

Christian James Niven, of Osborne Terrace, Stacksteads, admitted child abduction at Burnley Crown Court.

The court was told that they were in a relationship and that the girl only returned home after police found her with Niven.

When Niven, 24, was arrested he ‘repeatedly lied’ to officers denying going away with her saying he ‘barely knew her’.

However, when various CCTV images of Niven and the girl were shown to him he ‘changed his account’ of what had happened, the court heard.

Police carried out a search after she had been reported missing, but found that none of her family or friends knew where she was.

Judge Simon Newell said: “It’s accepted by the crown there was no abduction in the sense you dragged her away, as she fully consented to everything that went on.

“Nevertheless you knew her actual age, her family were distressed and searches were under way.

“There are sometimes awful consequences of young girls like this going missing and that causes considerable distress.”

John Harrison, defending, said: “The abduction charge is unattractive in itself. But there are features that make it less bad to other abductions.

“It was consensual throughout, totally inappropriate of course, but they only had on and off contact.

“He didn’t accompany her all weekend.

“One of the aggravating features this has is on others who were concerned for her well-being.”

Niven, who has 21 convictions for 41 offences, also pleaded guilty in a separate incident to attempting to rob a man of his mobile phone in Bacup town centre at 1am on December 21 last year.

Jon Close, prosecuting, told how Niven approached the man saying ‘dude, give me your phone’.

When he refused he threw a punch which clipped his ear, the court heard.

He then threw another punch which missed the victim before he ran off.

Niven was identified by police through local CCTV and a video identification parade.

He also admitted stealing a crate of lager from the Coop store in Waterfoot.

Niven was jailed for two years and six months and given a restraining order which will run until April 2015.

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