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Kmart kidnapper jailed for sexually assaulting seven-year-old girl

It's every parent's worst nightmare

A man has been sentenced prison after he lured a seven-year-old girl from a Queensland Kmart where she was shopping with her mum.

Sterling Free, 26, had plead guilty to deprivation of liberty, taking a child for immoral purposes and indecent treatment of a child under 12 years.

The incident occurred back in December last year, when Free, a father of three, approached the young girl at Kmart North Lakes.

In footage played to the court, Free can be seen hovering around the toy section of the store before telling the girl to ‘follow me’.

Free then kidnapped the girl and took her to nearby bushland where the assault took place.

He then returned to the area where he’d taken her from and dropped her off near a car wash.

It wasn’t until the girl’s mum noticed a scratch mark on her girl’s back that she reported the offence.

During the sentencing, Judge Julie Dick described the incident as ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ and upon watching the chilling CCTV footage of the abduction, stated it was obvious premeditation.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison but may be eligible for parole as early as 2021.

During the hearing, the court heard that Free was a pornography addict and abuse victim himself. He was also described as having a pedophilloic disorder who had trouble controlling his urges.

After the horrific incident, Free claimed he hated every minute of it.

Outside court, Free’s lawyer read a statement that he had prepared earlier in which he apologised for the pain he caused the victim, her family and his own family, including his children.

I today accept the punishment imposed upon me by the justice system it read.

I cannot comprehend the pain I’ve caused her. I took away her innocence and scared her family. I hope that today my sentence provides her and her family some closure.

My children deserve better. They will now grow up without a father and I can only blame myself.

He claimed he will seek treatment when he is behind bars.

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Reading aloud her own statement, the victim’s mother said that ‘no sentence will ever be long enough’.

‘My tiny, innocent girl was well aware of stranger danger, however this person was friendly to her and tricked her into following him’.

‘No child should ever have to go through this type of trauma and no sentence will ever be long enough to make up for the ongoing effects this will have on her’.

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