Blackpool Airbnb lockdown party leads to child abduction charges

Two men have been convicted of child abduction after a 14-year-old was found at an Airbnb lockdown party in Blackpool.

Zak Baker, 19, claimed he needed a place to isolate himself when he rented the vacation apartment in January 2021.

But during the police visit on January 9, they found Baker, Ryan Foster, 23, Foster’s girlfriend and a 14-year-old girl partying on the premises.

The teenager was partially naked and there was a large amount of alcohol in the room, Preston Crown Court has learned.

Baker and Foster had previously received child abduction notices, forbidding them from seeing the girl, after being found in a hot tub with her a month earlier.

Both men were arrested and admitted that they were aware of the notices and understood that they were not allowed to be with the teenager.

They pleaded guilty to kidnapping and Baker admitted to defrauding by misrepresenting the reason he gave the Airbnb owner for renting the apartment.

They have not been charged with any sexual offense, the court said.

Sentencing judge Simon Newell said the teenager was living with her grandparents and was “out of control.”

There was no evidence that the girl was taken against her will, but he said, “It seemed like you were taking advantage of her.

“A section two (child abduction) notice has been put in place. It’s a court order – no contact.

“You ignored her and on January 9 you were in an Airbnb with her.

“She was half naked, there was a lot of alcohol and the room had been booked for a few days.

He added that there were “clear sexual connotations”.

Janet Ironfield, defending Baker, said he acted on an impulse he couldn’t resist when he arranged to meet the girl.

She said he had learning difficulties and considered her a friend who he could confide in about his difficulties.

The alcohol found at the scene was “an inevitable part of socializing, rather than a sophisticated kidnapping attempt,” she said.

Foster also has learning difficulties, but had teamed up with Baker who had organized the party.

However, at the time of the rally, he was facing a suspended sentence for assaulting his ex-partner, the court said.

Judge Newell sentenced Foster, of Dean Street, Blackpool, to 10 months for kidnapping, one month for possession of a fake firearm (a BB gun which he handed over during his arrest) and activated two months of suspended sentence.

Baker, of Bolton Road, Atherton, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 24 months with 50 days of rehabilitation and a two-month curfew.

Baker has been banned from entering Blackpool for 24 months and the pair have received a restraining order that will last until the teenager’s 18th birthday.

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