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Man granted bail over south-west child abduction charge

Jeremy Thomas is brought to court.
Jeremy Thomas is brought to court.

A man who allegedly abducted a 14-year-old south-west girl for sex has been released from custody.
Jeremy Thomas, 31, is alleged to have called the intellectually disabled teenager his "baby girl'' and had plans to bring her to Bendigo where they could have sex.
He was arrested in mid-August after getting off a train at Southern Cross Station with the girl.
He appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates Court on August 15 for a bail application, where he was described by police as "every parent's worst nightmare".
Bail was denied by magistrate Gregory McNamara.
Thomas made a second application for bail in the Kerang Magistrates Court this week. It was granted with conditions he live in Maiden Gully, report to police once a week and not use his mobile phone or any social networking site.
Thomas is alleged to have struck up a conversation with the young girl on Facebook on August 2.
Police allege he made arrangements to bring the girl to Bendigo for sex, despite her repeatedly telling him she was 14.
"On August 12, Thomas caught a train and then a taxi to the girl's house. He then left with the girl and travelled to Geelong and on to Southern Cross station,'' Leading Senior Constable Dave Somerton, prosecuting, said during the first bail application in August.
"He then planned to travel to Bendigo and had paid the victim's fare."
It is alleged Thomas sexually assaulted the girl during the journey.
Leading Senior Constable Somerton said police found four mobile phones at Thomas' house and one showed that significant planning had gone into the alleged abduction.
"The accused saved the victim's number under 'baby girl'," he said.
"He also sent a text message to a third party stating 'her mum has just gone to work, time for the big move'.
The court was told Thomas believed the girl was 17.
Defence lawyer Luke Docherty said Thomas had a low IQ, was on a disability support pension and that it was the victim who added him as a Facebook friend.
"The victim added him as a friend," he previously told the court.
"It wasn't him grooming her, it was a two-way street: when he arrived she had her bags packed.
"He is being painted as a predatory creature who goes out and hunts this girl - it's not correct."
Thomas is charged with abducting a child under 16 to sexually penetrate, causing a child under 16 to be abducted, child stealing, performing an indecent act with a child under 16 and indecent assault.

Bendigo Advertiser (14-9-2011)
Whitney Harris
http://www.standard.net.au/story/795654/man-granted-bail-over-south-west-child-abduction-charge/


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'Baby girl' abducted for sex, court told

A Bendigo man who allegedly abducted a 14-year-old girl from south-west Victoria to have sex with her has been described as every parent's worst nightmare.
Jeremy Thomas, 31, was yesterday denied bail in Bendigo Magistrates Court.
He has been charged with abducting a child under 16 to sexually penetrate, causing a child under 16 to be abducted, child stealing, indecent act with a child under 16 and indecent assault.
Magistrate Gregory McNamara heard Thomas struck up a conversation with the intellectually disabled girl on Facebook on August 2.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Dave Somerton opposed bail and said the victim repeatedly advised Thomas that she was only 14 years old.
"Following further discussions, arrangements were made where he would collect her from her home and take her to Bendigo to live with him," he said.
"On August 12, Thomas caught a train and then a taxi to the girl's house. He then left with the girl and travelled to Geelong and on to Southern Cross station.
"He then planned to travel to Bendigo and had paid the victim's fare.
It is alleged that Thomas sexually assaulted the girl on the journey.
Leading Senior Constable Somerton said police found Thomas and the girl at Southern Cross Station.
"He was arrested and stated his intention was to take her back to Bendigo and have sex with her," he said.
The court heard police found four mobile phones at Thomas's house with one phone showing significant planning going into the alleged abduction.
"The accused saved the victimís number under 'baby girl'," Leading Senior Constable Somerton said.
"He also sent a text message to a third party stating 'her mum has just gone to work time for the big move'.
"When interviewed by police he indicated he thought the victim was 17 and was of that belief until he met her."
Leading Senior Constable Somerton said Thomas admitted to sexually assaulting the girl.
"(He) was aware the mother had not given her permission to leave," the prosecutor said.
"He thought it was love and further to that he knew what he was doing was wrong. It's every parentís worst nightmare; if he is left to his own devices, who knows what is going to happen."
Defence lawyer Luke Docherty said if granted bail Thomas could live with his sister.
He said he had a low IQ and was on a disability support pension.
"The victim added him as a friend," he said.
"It wasn't him grooming her - it was a two-way street, when he arrived she had her bags packed.
"He is being painted as a predatory creature who goes out and hunts this girl - it's not correct."
Magistrate McNamara said Thomas had a very low IQ and needed to be treated differently.
"He is supported by family and has no prior convictions," he said.
"I have formed the view that he is an unacceptable risk given these type of offences have consequences that can be so severe."
Thomas was remanded to appear in Geelong Magistrates Court on November 18.

www.theage.com.au (16-8-2011)
Clare Quirk
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/baby-girl-abducted-for-sex-court-told-20110816-1ivln.html








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