Man, 71, jailed for trying to kidnap young girls for sexual acts in Liverpool

Leslie Foster approached three girls - aged three, eight and 10 - at shops in St Johns Shopping Centre.

<p>Leslie Foster, 71, has been jailed for child sex offences. Image: CPS</p>

Leslie Foster, 71, has been jailed for child sex offences. Image: CPS

A 71-year-old man has been jailed for committing child sex offences in the city centre.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Leslie Foster, 71, of Canning Street, Liverpool, attempted to lure away three children from shops in St Johns Precinct for sexual purposes.

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Foster offered a three-year-old child money to put her hand on his groin and also approached two other young girls in August and September last year.

He was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison, plus four and a half on extended licence, at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday.

Leslie Foster, 71, has been jailed for child sex offences. Image: CPS

Senior Crown Prosecutor Mairead Neeson said: “What Leslie Foster did on these three occasions is every parent’s nightmare.

“We believe that, had these children gone with him, he would have committed a sexual act on them. He took one child’s hand so that he could use it to stroke his groin.”

Foster was found guilty of two counts of causing and inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of attempted kidnap with intent to commit a sexual offence.

How Foster approached young girls

On August 20, 2021, Foster approached a 10-year-old child  in Wilkinson’s and asked her if she wanted a kiss. He did not get close to her but she was immediately nervous and upset and told her mother and sister what had happened.

On September 20, 2021, he entered the Home Bargains store and approached a three-year-old child and put her hand on his groin area over clothing and offered her money for doing so. She told her 12-year-old  sister who immediately told a parent. As a result, staff were able to check CCTV which verified what the three year old had said.

Half an hour later on the same day, he approached another child, who was eight years old and asked her to come and play with him. The Crown Prosecution Service’s case was that, had the child gone with him, he would have committed a sexual act with her.

Merseyside police attended and and arrested Foster in St John’s Precinct. He was questioned by police, charged and remanded into custody.

He has been placed on the Sexual Offenders Register.

What’s been said

Detective constable Rachel Roberts said: “We welcome that Foster will spend the rest of his life behind bars and can no longer cause fear and harm to children.

“By attempting to deny the charges, Foster also put his victims through the ordeal of a trial. Fortunately, the jury saw through his lies and we would like to thank the victims and their parents for the bravery and strength they have shown throughout the investigation to trial.

“I would also like to thank the staff in Home and Bargain who quickly alerted police to allow us to arrest Foster quickly so that he could be brought to justice.”

Senior Crown Prosecutor Mairead Neeson said: “The Crown Prosecution Service’s case was that he was trying to lure these very young girls away for sexual purposes.

“Very young children may not fully understand what is happening but instinctively know it is wrong.  On two occasions, the sisters of the victims intervened and took the children away, showing the power of siblings’ protective nature.

“Without the instinctive reactions of these children, Foster’s offending could have had far more serious consequences.”