Published: 14:02, 10 September 2021
| Updated: 15:03, 10 September 2021
A man who confronted a schoolgirl at a bus stop and whispered "Come with me" has been found guilty of attempted kidnap.
The 11-year-old victim bravely fought off Ben Hanger after screaming and fled in Sheerness in January this year.
This week, a jury at Maidstone Crown Court rejected a claim by her attacker he was only trying to steal her phone and convicted the 31-year-old.
Prosecutor Mary Jacobson revealed how Hanger's Vauxhall Meriva was caught on CCTV driving past the girl before pulling up as she walked past.
She said the victim crossed the road because she feared Hanger was following her.
"She got to a bus stop and was slightly concerned so she thought she would let him pass," she explained.
"But he grabbed hold of her arm and whispered to her 'Come with me'. There was no one else around at this time of the morning.
'The Crown say this was an attempt to kidnap her, a schoolgirl, from the street as she was going to school. Fortuitously, she screamed and managed to run away to safety.'
"She shouted at him to 'Get off' and managed to extricate herself and run off. When she looked around she could no longer see the man. He had gone back to his car and driven off.
"Having successfully escaped his clutches, she ran to a house nearby where she arrived upset and frightened. Her mum was contacted and the police called.
"The Crown say this was an attempt to kidnap her, a schoolgirl, from the street as she was going to school. Fortuitously, she screamed and managed to run away to safety."
Hanger's car triggered an ANPR camera on the Sheppey Crossing less than 20 minutes later and he was arrested that day at his home in St Agnes Gardens, Sheerness.
The girl subsequently picked him out in an identification procedure and his DNA was found on her coat sleeve.
Danny Moore, defending, told the jury Hanger's motive was nothing more sinister than theft or robbery of the girl's phone.
Judge Catherine Moore adjourned sentencing Hanger until December 3 after ordering reports to consider dangerousness.
He was remanded in custody.