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Bury St Edmunds: Man grabbed schoolgirl by hand - court hears

11:30 01 July 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

Archant

A mentally-ill man jumped over a bush into the grounds of a Suffolk primary school and grabbed a girl by her hand, a court has heard.

Steven Fidler, 36, told the girl she looked lost and said “I’ll take you where you need to be,” Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Worried staff at Hardwick Primary School in Steward Road, Bury St Edmunds, called the police and when Fidler was arrested shortly afterwards at nearby shops he was acting bizarrely and a mental health assessment was carried out by a nurse.

Fidler, of Caie Walk, Bury, was initially charged with trying to abduct a child but yesterday he pleaded guilty to a charge of using threatening behaviour in December and the attempted abduction charge was ordered to be left on the court file.

After reading medical reports Judge John Holt said he was satisfied Fidler was mentally ill and made a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act. He also made a five year restraining order banning Fidler from going within 50 yards of any primary school.

Hugh Vass, prosecuting, said police received a 999 call from staff at Hardwick Primary at 11am on December 3 after Fidler jumped over the bush close to a group of children.

Fidler said “You look lost” to a girl and had grabbed her hand and told her he would take her to where she needed to be. The girl later told police: “I thought he was going to put me in a bag and steal me like robbers do.”

Fidler was also heard to say “Go away or I’ll kill you,” said Mr Vass.

After his arrest Fidler appeared “jumpy and irritable” and when he was taken to a police station he had laid down on the floor and then stood up several times. He also claimed to have murdered a friend by chopping him up with an axe.

Lindsay Cox, for Fidler, said his client had been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and was co-operating with treatment. He said the friend he had ‘murdered’ was in court to support him.

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