A HUSBAND and wife are waking up behind bars after luring a Blackpool girl and keeping her in their home, where the man sexually abused her.
Michael Kinnear, 41, and Nicola Kinnear, 40, admitted detaining the 13-year-old in their terraced house on Fairfield Road in North Shore.
After being lured into the couple’s home with the promise of shelter and food, the youngster, who was in foster care, was sexually touched by Michael Kinnear.
A judge at Preston Crown Court described their actions as “classic grooming” and said they should have informed the authorities of her whereabouts.
Police began the hunt for the 13-year-old girl in April last year after her concerned Blackpool foster parents reported her missing.
The youngster was found six days later in Kinnear’s house.
Officers had already called at the house and been told she was not there.
DC Andy Rigby, from Blackpool Police and Blackpool Council’s Awaken Team, a project to tackle the exploitation of vulnerable children, said: “This young girl who was in foster care wasn’t happy with her placement and got introduced to these two through a mutual teenage friend.
“She was there for six days and they didn’t contact anybody, hence the child abduction. While there, Michael Kinnear has committed sexual activity with her.
“The judge described it as classic grooming – they gave her free reign and no rules, they fed and clothed her during the week.”
Police were able to track the teenager’s whereabouts after tracing a mobile phone she had used to call a missing person’s helpline to the Kinnears’ address.
DC Rigby added: “We visited their address, while knocking on doors, and they had denied all knowledge of anything. Then we traced the mobile phone to that address and when we went round again, they still denied it. “Eventually they said ‘she’s here’.
“She saw them in the first instance as a place of shelter, but clearly they had other ideas, hence the sentences.
“She wasn’t locked in the house, they just allowed her to stay there. It’s very important a message is sent out to children – nobody does anything for nothing. You have to take a step back and think ‘what is the ulterior motive’.”
The teenager has now left Blackpool and police say she has settled back into care and is “putting it behind her”.
Michael Kinnear was sentenced to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to detaining a child so as to keep her from a person having lawful control and engaging in sexual activity with a child.
Nicola Kinnear was handed a 16-month jail term for detaining a child.
DC Rigby added: “This has been a complex and difficult investigation but I am pleased with the sentence.”
The couple did not plead guilty to the offences until the trial began. Michael Kinnear was placed on the sex offenders register for seven years and given a 10-year Sex Offenders Prevention Order.