Man jailed for terrifying teen attack

A MAN has been jailed for 15 months after assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Ipswich before hauling her into his van and driving off.

Colin Adwent

A MAN has been jailed for 15 months after assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Ipswich before hauling her into his van and driving off.

Hector Seaman, of Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, was also given a one-month prison sentence to run concurrently for failing to provide a breath specimen when police arrested him.

Ipswich Crown Court had heard the 26-year-old claimed he had grappled with the girl outside Johnson's Dry Cleaner's near St Augustine's roundabout in Ipswich, because she had tried to steal money from him.

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Although Seaman was originally charged with kidnapping the teenager, the court heard a guilty plea to actual bodily harm has been accepted by the prosecution instead.

After studying psychological reports on Seaman, Judge Roderick Newton said he had no idea what the defendant intended to do with the girl, adding: “It clearly was frightening for the victim.”

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However, he accepted Seaman had acted in a misguided manner because he felt he had been the victim of an offence himself.

Judge Newton described the girl being bundled into the van as “everybody's worst nightmare”.

At a previous hearing prosecutor Stephen Rose told the court the girl was walking home alone on May 3. When she got to the dry cleaner's on Felixstowe Road at around 8.45pm she became aware of a red Vauxhall Astra van which had pulled up beside her.

Seaman got out and ran towards the girl.

Mr Rose said she had never seen him before. He then punched her in the face and she was hit numerous times, before being bundled inside the van.

Seaman's teenage victim sustained bruising to her left eye, a cut under her left ear, bruising to her neck and other minor injuries as a result of the assault.

Seaman then drove around Ipswich in the van with the girl before being stopped by police.

The assault was witnessed by a number of people, one of whom followed the van in his vehicle.

The court was told Seaman appeared to be driving erratically at speeds up to 70mph.

He stopped by police on the Copdock-bound on-slip road to A14 at Seven Hills, near Nacton.

Seaman claimed the girl had tried to snatch money from his van when he stopped to ask her for directions and that he had run after her to catch her.

He added that he got her into his van so he could take her to the police station.

Catherine Bradshaw, mitigating, said her client admitted his behaviour was disproportionate to the offence he had alleged, but denied punching the girl in the face.

The court heard Seaman was mortified when he discovered the girl was only 14-years-old and he is deeply ashamed.

Seaman was also given a further concurrent sentenced of eight months for the theft of tools and other items from two building sites at Rendlesham in March.

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