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Man abducted schoolboy, got stabbed and tried to hotwire a motorbike

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 04/10/2022 Adam Everett

A man abducted a 12-year-old boy, got stabbed then tried to hotwire a motorbike.

Andrew Cooper met the youngster in a chance encounter, took him away on a train and was then slashed in the chest with a knife over a drug debt. His drunken and unexplained actions were described as "bizarre" by a judge.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the youngster, whom he had never met before, and his friend were "chilling" in his flat at around 5pm on July 12 this year after a "chance meeting". They played football and listened to music together before the complainant's pal left at roughly 10pm, leaving him alone in the property.

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Cooper had been drinking beer and was "intoxicated", telling the schoolboy at one stage "have some if you like". The 24-year-old, of Barnabas Avenue in Crewe, then "offered the victim to stay".

But, at 11.45pm, they left the address and went to Crewe Station. The defendant "didn't say why they were going", and while the child said "he was kind of happy to do so" he "felt like he didn't have a choice".

Cooper said he was from Tottenham and they "talked about getting a train to London". But no services were running to the capital at the time at night and they instead travelled to Warrington, "hoping to catch another train from there".

After arriving in the town, the boy went into a shop to buy a drink. When he went back outside again, he discovered that Cooper had been stabbed.

He later described how he had "come across" a man who owed him money for drugs, who proceeded to slash him with a knife "several times" to his arms and chest. The kidnapper then attempted to "hotwire a motorbike", but later attended hospital due to his injuries.

When arrested, Cooper was found to be in possession of a bag containing a BB gun and a claw hammer. The youth subsequently told police that "at one point the defendant asked him if he had ever done flake or cocaine and if he would sell it for him", also saying that he had offered to buy him a new bike when he declined.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, described the events as a "somewhat unusual case". He added: "There is no suggestion in any way that the offence was sexually motivated."

Cooper has seven previous convictions for 21 offences, and had recently been released from prison at the time. Defence barrister Julian Farley said his client, who has been working as a cleaner in prison while in custody awaiting sentence, "accepts everything said" by the prosecution - adding: "It is a particularly difficult background, both personally and with regards to his unresolved mental health issues."

Appearing in court via video link to HMP Altcourse on Monday afternoon, he admitted child abduction and was jailed for a year. Cooper was also handed a restraining order banning him from contacting the boy for five years and told to pay a victim surcharge.

Forfeiture and destruction of the weapons was ordered. Sentencing, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said: "This was bizarre behaviour.

"Clearly you were aware of his youth and vulnerability. You were then involved in a violent incident with a criminal associate of yours.

"There is no question of any force or violence used to intimidate him. There is no question of any sexual motivation in this case."

The ECHO has requested a custody picture of Cooper from Cheshire Police. The force has not yet responded.

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