A PAEDOPHILE who snatched four little girls from the street in the 1980s and 1990s, sexually abused them then dumped them was jailed for 17 years today.
Balding grandfather David Bryant, 65, felt "a sense of grievance" having been caught so long after the offences, the court heard.
He admitted kidnap and sexual assault after cold-case detectives made a DNA link to catch him 30 years after he first struck.
The judge said: "All your victims were very young girls aged five or under.
"There was a distinct pattern to your offences. In each case you approached your victim near to where you were working at the time, took them to a place of privacy where you sexually assaulted them."
Bryant's offending against young girls was terrifying and became more serious as he continued to evade capture, with the mother of his final victim believing her daughter was dead as she had been missing for 17 hours.
In the first case in the early 1980s, he grabbed a girl aged five who was playing outside her home from under the nose of her mother.
The girl's mother had gone into their house to get drinks for the children and when she returned her daughter had vanished.
Moments later, a couple reported they had found her and a man had run away.
He had committed a sex act on the child, leaving DNA evidence on her which would prove useful decades later.
The following year a three-year-old was snatched as she played with other children in Southampton.
Bryant offered to show her some puppies, took her to woods and sexually abused her.
Speaking as an adult, she said: "When I hear an ice cream van playing its music, I am left with chills all over my body. I am left remembering what happened to me at a very young age."
In the mid-1990s, a girl aged five was playing outside her home in Newcastle on a May evening when she was separated from her family. When her frantic mother discovered her missing, a search of the local area proved fruitless and the police were called.
The girl was found 36 miles away in County Durham, around three hours later.
A local taxi driver spotted her half-dressed and alone on the streets and took her to the police station. She had also been abused.
Later that year a four-year-old from Newcastle's west end was abducted as she walked 30 yards to a friend's house.
Bryant later admitted he took her to a caravan in Cumbria. He dumped her in Darlington the next day.
The former soldier abused her, then washed her in the bath to get rid of DNA. Her mother said she smelled of baby lotion when they were reunited.
The victim had knocked on a woman's door, saying: "I cannot find my daddy. I have lost my daddy."
Hampshire Police detectives began a cold-case review of the sex attacks and through DNA advances, tracked down the predator, having eliminated three of his male relatives from their inquiries.
The judge said he did not attach much weight to the apology and claims of remorse Bryant has since proffered.
Bryant admitted being tempted to snatch more girls since the 1990s offences, but told his probation officer he had managed to control the urge.