Schoolgirl kidnapper jailed for three years

Two teenage girls remained traumatised by an attempt to abduct them on their way to school, a court has heard.

Philip Michael Foss, 26, from Mt Albert, Auckland, was jailed today after admitting kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and attempting to kidnap a 17-year-old girl outside Western Springs College in June.

In Auckland District Court Judge Lindsay Moore jailed Foss for 3-1/4 years for the kidnapping and 18 months for the attempted kidnapping.

The judge ordered that he serve a minimum sentence of two years.

"The first victim (the 17-year-old) was so upset that she had to miss school for several days," crown prosecutor Deb Bell told the court.

"Her schoolwork suffered and she had several changes in her lifestyle afterwards.

"The second victim suffered injuries that continue to cause discomfort and continue to remind her of what happened.

"She has become over-protective of her family and her relationships with other people have suffered."

Foss was revealed in court today to have had 42 previous convictions, mainly for alcohol and dishonesty offences and none for violence.

He attempted to kidnap the 17-year-old near Western Springs College on June 16.

He pointed an object, covered in a black t-shirt, towards her chest, and she screamed. He then grabbed her shoulder but she managed to get away, ripping her school jacket as she freed herself from his grasp.

About two hours later Foss returned to the college.

He got out of his car, approached a 14-year-old girl and covered her mouth with his hand as he dragged her towards his car.

The girl screamed and tooted the horn as he pushed her into the car.

As Foss drove off she climbed into the back of the vehicle and tried to get out of the car.

He subsequently slowed and she successfully got out of the car, after which he drove off.

Police subsequently recovered a blanket from the car and police matched semenal samples to a DNA sample Foss had given earlier and arrested him two days later.

The court was later told that Foss had been drunk and under the influence of alcohol after a night on the town, which appeared to include a visit to a brothel.

On returning home his partner -- the mother of his two-year-old child --, was upset at his drunkenness and told him to sleep it off somewhere else, after which he headed out finishing up outside the school.

Ms Bell said a minimum imprisonment of 3-4 years was appropriate due to the gravity of the offending and the impact on the girls, and that Judge Moore should consider what might have happened to the girls had they not escaped.

She also said Foss' offending had impacted strongly on the community and the college, which had to take extra measures to make pupils and parents feel more secure about getting to school.

Defence lawyer Sanjay Patel said Foss had written to the girls apologising for his offending.

A psychologist's report said he was a moderate risk of reoffending and a low risk of sexual offending.

Mr Patel said Foss had said he only wanted to take the girls, to a friend's place for some drinks and that had no sexual intentions towards them.

Judge Moore said he didn't believe that Foss was at low risk of reoffending, especially while drinking was still a problem for him.

He said Foss' guilty plea was the only thing in his favour, but that he could only sentence him for what he had actually done.

"I don't think there is any way of avoiding the conclusion that the inevitable reaction of the victims and of anybody learning about this is that there had to be a sexual motive," he said.

"For the girls it must have been something approaching their worst nightmare."

- NZPA

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