A teenager has been jailed for two years in total for kidnap and child abduction after stealing a car that contained two children.
In the incident one of the children – a 12-year-old girl – managed to throw herself out of the stolen moving car, but Martin Cawley drove off with her 11-month-old brother. He was later left on a stranger’s doorstep.
Cawley, 19 (21.05.97) of no fixed address, but originally from the Kentish Town area, previously pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court to kidnap, child abduction and aggravated taking and driving away.
He was sentenced today, Tuesday, 18 October, at the same court.
The incident happened at around 12:45hrs on Saturday, 2 July, in Kempe Road, Enfield, when the 27-year-old mother of the two children parked her black three-door Vauxhall Astra to go to some nearby shops.
The mother and an adult relative got out of the vehicle leaving her 11-month-old son and 12-year-old daughter in the car.
When she emerged literally seconds later, Cawley had jumped into her car and driven off at speed. The 12-year-old girl immediately started screaming ‘No’, and was so terrified that she managed to scramble from the back of the car through the front seats and throw herself out of the car door. However the baby boy remained trapped in the car, strapped into his car seat.
The panic-stricken mother immediately called police – and begging passers-by to help her.
Although the 12-year-old had fallen out of the car onto a busy road, she miraculously escaped serious injury. Officers who attended the scene treated her for minor cuts and bruises, but she did not require hospital treatment.
Meanwhile a member of the public had offered a lift to the mother to try and locate the car – police accompanying them managed to track her mobile phone, which she had left in the vehicle, but when they arrived at Cooper’s Walk, Cheshunt, the car was empty and her baby son gone.
However a short time later, officers were contacted by Hertfordshire Police to say that a member of the public from Cheshunt had reported that the baby boy had been left, unharmed, on their doorstep. Mother and son were then reunited.
Within days, detectives from Enfield CID had identified Cawley as their suspect. He was subsequently arrested on 19 July.
Detective Inspector Chris Rixon, from Enfield CID said: “This case shows that we will relentlessly pursue those who disregard the law and put others’ lives in danger and seek to bring them to account for their actions at the earliest opportunity.
“Martin Cawley is an opportunist thief who showed a callous lack of regard for the welfare of the two small children in the car he stole. He put the lives of the little girl and baby boy in jeopardy, subjecting them to an awful ordeal.
“The fact that a girl so young threw herself out of the moving vehicle just shows how frightened she was. She is very fortunate as jumping out onto a busy road could have resulted in her sustaining significant injuries or even worse, had she been hit by an on coming car.
“I would like to take this opportunity to again praise the bravery of this family, as well as thanking the member of the public who found the little boy on their doorstep. They took such great care of him, and both the police and his mother were extremely grateful.
“This case shows how an opportunistic theft can develop into a very serious criminal incident, and with the nights drawing in, when this type of theft traditionally increases, it should serve as a warning to the public to be increasingly vigilant.”