Monday 22 January 2018

Teenager who stole car with two children inside sentenced to two years

Martin Cawley, 19. Photo: PA
Martin Cawley, 19. Photo: PA

Nina Massey

A kidnapper who stole a car with two children inside, before abandoning the baby on a doorstep has been sentenced to two years' detention.

Martin Cawley, 19, was high on drugs when he got into a parked car and drove off during the incident in north London on July 2.

A 12-year-old girl managed to escape by jumping out of the car - grazing her arm - shortly after Cawley drove off, despite her shouting "no, no".

The 11-month-old baby boy was later found, uninjured, on the doorstep of a house in Guinevere Gardens, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

Prosecutor Nick Cribb told Wood Green Crown Court: "At the plea hearing, the Crown said that this case represented every parents' worst nightmare. We do not renege on that.

"This was an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the children involved and the parents."

Cawley, from Gospel Oak, north London, climbed into the car after the children's mother stopped - on her way to a wedding - to go to a shop in Kempe Road in Enfield, leaving the keys in the ignition.

He pleaded guilty to kidnap, child abduction and aggravated vehicle taking and was sentenced to two years in a young offenders institution.

Judge Noel Lucas QC told Cawley he was of the opinion he simply "did not care" what happened to the baby after he dumped him.

He added: "You could have had no idea when you abandoned that baby who would have picked him up, and what harm he might come to, or in the end whether he would have been reunited with his parents.

"Your subsequent actions suggest you simply did not care.

"I accept that this is amongst the worst nightmares for any parent."

Wearing a black t-shirt, and with a black eye, Cawley who appeared in court via videolink from HMP Pentonville and showed no reaction as he was sentenced.

Mr Cribb added: "While high on drugs, Mr Cawley stole the family car containing two children.

"No doubt she was scared out of her wits, one child jumped from the moving car, the other - an 11-month-old baby - was driven away and abandoned some miles away."

The court was shown CCTV footage that appeared to show Cawley peering into the car before he took it, ultimately parking in a car park near his aunt's house, having dumped the baby.

Mr Cribb continued: "He went in, he smoked a joint and he told his aunt that he had just got a new car and needed some new number plates."

Police found the car, having tracked the mother's phone, but the child was no longer in his seat.

He was discovered nearby around 10 minutes later - the ordeal lasting around 40 minutes.

The youngster's nappy had been changed and he had been looked after by the woman whose doorstep the baby had been left.

Cawley was arrested on July 19, and admitted to police that he had been high on drugs at the time of the incident.

In a victim impact statement, the mother told how she left the shop to find her car missing and screamed "my baby, my baby".

She joined police to track down the car but was horrified to find it empty.

She said: "When I found the car locked and neatly parked it dawned on me that he took my car to take my baby.

"I actually felt like I would never see him again."

The mother said she still has nightmares he has been abducted and worries she will struggle to part with him when he starts education.

"I feel things will never be the same again," she added.

The distraught woman and her family were in court to see Cawley sentenced, and sat sobbing as details of the abduction were given in court.

Press Association

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