ALEXANDER Benfield has been convicted of the attempted kidnap of a nine-year-old girl in Ashton Keynes and causing actual bodily harm.

Benfield, 25, showed no emotion as the jury, reduced to six women and five men, returned from three hours of deliberation and convicted him of attempted kidnap and causing actual bodily harm.

They found he grabbed the child as she ran an errand to the local shop with two other youngsters aged eight and nine, on Saturday, July 8.

Benfeld, of Lawrence Road, Cirencester, had stopped in Ashton Keynes as he made a lunchtime trip to shops from the stables where he worked in Bradon.

In footage from CCTV cameras in the village his car is seen pulling up just yards from the local store as the three little girls come out.

As they made their way home Benfield came up behind the children and grabbed the girl by her shoulder and bottom, lifting her off the ground.

But as she struggled and screamed he dropped her, leaving her with grazed knees, and ran off.

After getting back in his car he drove straight to a clothes shop to buy a new shirt so he could change out of the distinctive T shirt he was wearing.

And when he was arrested the following day he lied about what he had been wearing and where he had been the day before.

However as well as film from the village, police also recovered CCTV footage from the clothes shop and stable yard, showing what he was wearing.

Detectives also found two short movies on his mobile phone where had covertly filmed young girls.

In the first clip, lasting four seconds a young blonde girl walks past the front of his car and the second, 18 seconds in length, showed a child swinging in a play park.

Gareth James, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and psychiatric and psychological reports had both been carried out on him.

He said the offences did not mean he would have to register as a sex offender unless a sexual harm prevention order, restricting his liberty, was made at sentence.

Judge Tim Mousley QC adjourned the case to Monday, November 6, and remanded Benfield in custody until then.

He said: “You have been convicted of a very serious offence by a jury. Inevitably the sentence will be one of imprisonment.

“The issues that I have to determine are how long that sentence will be, whether it is a case where an extended sentence is appropriate and whether there is included in that a significant risk of you causing serious harm to others. That is the reason for the adjournment.”

An NSPCC spokesman for South West England said: “This is a disturbing case in which an adult has attempted to snatch a  nine-year-old child from the street in broad daylight and in front on her friends.

“The victim and her friends who witness the attempted abduction would have been terrified and Benfield’s efforts to cover his tracks following the attack are also deeply concerning.

“The victim in this case displayed enormous courage in describing her frightening ordeal, and it is thanks in large part to her bravery that Benfield has faced justice.”

Any adult concerned about the welfare of a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline at any time for free on 0808 800 5000. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111.