David Bryant tracked down by cold-case detectives after taking and sexually assaulting four girls in 1980s and 1990s
A paedophile who abducted four young girls from the street in the 1980s and 1990s and sexually abused them has appeared in court after cold-case detectives linked his DNA to the crimes.
David Bryant, a 65-year-old grandfather from Ulverston, Cumbria, was due to be sentenced at Newcastle crown court on Friday but the case was adjourned until next week.
The court heard that Bryant carried out separate attacks on young girls in Hampshire and Tyneside. He has admitted four counts of kidnap and four of sexual assault.
Mark Giuliani, for the prosecution, told the court: "A familiar feature of this offending is how the defendant targeted young girls out playing near their homes.
Perhaps it is a sad reflection on society in the 21st century that such behaviour is greatly curtailed. Children have been effectively robbed of part of their childhood."
Bryant's first victim, a five-year-old girl, was snatched in 1982 outside her Hampshire home. The girl's mother had gone into the house to get drinks for children playing in the street. Moments later a couple said they had found the girl and seen a man run away. Bryant's DNA was recovered from the scene.
The following year a three-year-old was taken as she played with friends in Southampton. The court heard that Bryant lured her into woods with the promise of showing her some puppies and sexually abused her.
Speaking as an adult, the girl said: "When I hear an ice-cream van playing its music I am left with chills all over my body. I am left remembering what happened to me at a very young age."
In 1995, a five-year-old girl disappeared while she was playing outside her home. She was found three hours later more than 30 miles from her house and had been abused.
Later that year a four-year-old from Newcastle's west end was abducted as she walked 30 yards to a friend's house. Bryant admitted that he had taken her to a caravan in Cumbria before leaving her in Darlington the next day.
The former soldier abused her and bathed her to remove traces of his DNA. The girl's mother said she smelled of baby lotion when she was reunited with her family.
The court heard that the girl knocked on a woman's door, saying: "I cannot find my daddy. I have lost my daddy."
The prosecution told the court that Bryant was convicted of three sex offences against women between 1975 and 1984.
The case was adjourned until 16 March to allow for further consultation on psychiatric and pre-sentence reports.