Europe

Heathrow flight halted on tarmac as man arrested over abduction of girl, 4

A plane was halted on the tarmac moments before it was due to take off, as police scrambled to arrest a man suspected of abducting a four-year-old girl.

Detectives told how it was a ‘race against time’ to stop the jet leaving Heathrow Airport for the Romanian capital of Bucharest.

Nottinghamshire Police received a report of a man taking a four-year-old child without permission shortly before 5pm on Thursday afternoon.

The suspect, 32, who is known to the girl, has now been arrested and the child is now safe after being reunited with her mum.

Officers tracked the car down at the airport using intelligence on the alleged abductor and number plate recognition cameras.

They also used border checks to determine that the suspect was booked on the flight, scheduled to leave at 6pm.

Leading the investigation is Detective Sergeant Ruth Walker, who said: ‘When the report came in it was a race against the clock to find them.

‘The plane was taxiing ready for take-off, but we were able to get there just in time before it took flight. The plane then returned to the terminal and the man was arrested.

‘This was a hugely complex and challenging case, with its obvious pressures.

‘I’d like to praise the team of detectives for their commitment and dedication to the investigation.

‘If it wasn’t for the swift coordinated multi-agency response there may have been a very different outcome.’

Detectives questioned the man yesterday before he was released on police bail pending further enquiries.

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