Man tells court in alleged Falkirk abduction case: ‘I thought girls were in danger’

Edinburgh High Court.
Edinburgh High Court.

A schoolgirl told police she thought she was being “tricked” by a man who allegedly tried to abduct her, a court has heard.

The 10-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was playing with a friend when a man on a bike approached her in Glenburn Road, Falkirk, on May 19, 2017.

The little girl was giving evidence on the second day of proceedings against John Bermingham (51), who denies two charges of attempted abduction and assault.

The Crown claims Mr Bermingham assaulted a 17-year-old male by punching him on the head.

Witness Viper MacDonald (49) told the court how he and the teenager had restrained him until police arrived.

PC David Harmon said he and a colleague then detained Mr Bermingham at the scene.

He said Mr Bermingham was taken to Falkirk Police Office, where condoms and sweets were found among his possessions.

Jurors at the High Court in Edinburgh were shown a video recording of the girl speaking to officers at Falkirk Police Office hours after the alleged abduction took place.

She said the man allegedly responsible told her and her friend he had lost a “really expensive” jacket.

She said he told them he needed their help to find it - and they agreed to help him as they thought he was “a really nice guy”.

She added the man told her there was a house that anybody could go into, and that it was brand new and there was lots of treats inside.

However she added: “I felt like he was trying to trick us into going to his house.

“He said we should go there today but we never went.”

The girl said her opinion of the man had changed after two men - one with facial tattoos- approached the trio. She said they asked if she knew who the man was.

When the girls said she did not the men told her to go to a house belonging to members of their family.

She said she became concerned when she saw the men confronting the man they had been with, adding: “I saw they had him pinned down as if they were going to fight. I was scared.”

Mr Viper MacDonald said he had been reading at home when he glanced out of a window and saw the man approach the children.

When asked if the man was in court he pointed out John Bermingham.

The heavily-tattooed mobile mechanic said he became suspicious and left the house to question Mr Bermingham.

He said: “I had never seen the man before. I was wondering who it was. I didn’t know the girls. It didn’t look right.

“I thought they were in danger.”

He told Mr Bermingham the police had been contacted and to wait until they arrived.

Mr MacDonald said that when Bermingham tried to get away. he and the teenager stopped him and the youngster was punched.

“He started struggling to get away.” he added “He started getting aggressive. We were holding on to his bike.

“I was holding him with my left arm. He said ‘let me go, let me go.”

“He just kept struggling and struggling. We held him until the police arrived.”

PC Harmon said when Mr Bermingham was cautioned he denied doing anything wrong.

The trial, before judge Lord Beckett, continues on Tuesday.