The sentencing of a man who abducted a 5-year-old girl as she walked to school and indecently assaulted will be delayed while an open-ended jail sentence is considered.

Brendan Henson, 47, also indecently assaulted the same girl two days before and now faces the prospect of serving preventive detention.

He was to hear his punishment in the Palmerston North District Court today, but that will now happen in July in the High Court.

The farmhand from the Cheltenham area in Manawatu admitted the charges in March, having been in custody since he was arrested in Rotorua in February.

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The abduction sparked a huge manhunt around Palmerston North on February 12 when the girl was taken on Shamrock St.

She was found by nonagenarian Bill Gilliland on the other side of town 2 ½ hours later.
Henson was arrested a week later in Rotorua.

At a previous court appearance it was revealed he also indecently assaulted the same girl on February 10.

He has admitted two charges of indecent assault and one of unlawfully abducting a child under 12 for the purpose of sexual connection.

At that previous hearing, as Henson was led away from the dock, a member of the girl's family shouted called him a "f****** a******, c***." Today, they were quiet.

Judge Gerard Lynch said the Crown preferred the sentencing to go ahead today, but reports from probation and a psychologist raised the prospect Henson was a high-risk of re-offending against young girls.

The judge therefore declined to sentence Henson and sent the matter to the High Court.