Little girl tells court she thought man was going to kill her

Edinburgh High Court.
Edinburgh High Court.

The jury at a trial of man who allegedly attempted to abduct a 10-year-old girl heard recorded evidence she believed she was going to be killed.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told police officers she felt “scared” after an incident in Glenburn Road, Falkirk, on May 19, 2017.

Video footage of the schoolgirl being interviewed just hours after the alleged incident was played yesterday at the High Court in Edinburgh during the first day of proceedings against John Bermingham (51).

In the 34 minute long recording, the little girl told police officers of how she and a friend, also aged 10, were playing in a playground when they were both approached by a male cyclist.

She said the man told her he had a lost his jacket and needed help to find it.

The little girl said the man offered to give her a “fiver” in return for her help. However, she said she didn’t want to accept his cash.

The child said she and her friend headed with the man towards woodland but another two males approached them, asking her if she knew the man and when she said he didn’t, they told her and her friend to leave the scene.

She said she felt scared.

The jury then heard Detective Constable Donald Rodger ask the child: “Why were you scared?”

The little girl replied: “I just didn’t know what going to happen. I thought he was going to take us away and kill us.”

The evidence was played to jurors on Thursday afternoon shortly after lawyers acting for Bermingham entered not guilty pleas to two charges of attempted abduction and assault.

Prosecution lawyer Bernard Ablett told judge Lord Beckett he intended to play a recording of the interview which was recorded at Falkirk Police office.

The little girl told the court her father had told her not to speak to strangers, but she had taken the decision she and her pal should help the man.

She said: “I asked him if he had lost anything. He said ‘yeah I’ve lost a really expensive jacket that’s got a lot of money in it’ and asks if we can help him find it.”

She said that as they headed towards woodland, the man offered to give them money.

She added: “He shouted ‘do you want a fiver. I will give you a fiver’ and I said ‘no. I don’t want any money for finding something.’”

The little girl then told DC Rodger that two men then approached them. They asked the girls if they knew the man and when they said no, the males told them to go to a nearby property.

The court heard the girls went to a house which belonged to relatives of the two men.

The little girl then said that her mum came back from her job in Edinburgh to collect her.

Earlier PC Craig Primrose said he was called to Glenburn Road at about 5.30pm and he became involved in “crowd control” activities.

He said a group of people had gathered because of what had happened.

PC Primrose added: “They had heard rumours that somebody had been trying to take a kid away.”

PC Primrose said he eventually spoke to the little girl’s pal.

The police officer then read the statement he took from the child to the jury.

She told PC Primrose the man wanted help to look for his jacket. She said she agreed to help him and that he told her about a nearby house.

She said: “He said there was a house in the trees beside the canal that people can go to and it had treats in it.”

The girl said two men then stopped them. One of the men had a tattoo on his face and she said they told her and her friend to leave the man, which they did.

Prosecutors claim on May 19, 2017 at Glenburn Road in Falkirk, Bermingham did “with intent to commit a sexual offence” attempt to abduct the two girls.

Prosecutors claim he pretended to them that he had lost his jacket and offered them money and that he induced them to go with him across a stretch of water called Glen Burn and into woodland there.

The Crown also claims on the same date and at the same location, Bermingham assaulted a man called Brandon MacDonald by punching him on the head.

Bermingham, who denies the charges, is represented by Keith Stewart QC.

The trial continues today.