Mum's 'Jamie Bulger fears' as teenagers led her son away from Leicester superstore
A Leicester mother has told of the terrifying moment she learned two teenagers had led her young son out of a supermarket and on to a bus.
The woman was shopping at Asda in Fosse Park with son Kieran, who is 11 but has a mental age of seven, when she realised he had gone missing.
In the ensuing search, shoppers said they had seen Kieran leaving the supermarket with two youths – echoing the case of James Bulger, the youngster who was murdered by two older boys after they led him away from a Liverpool shopping centre in 1993.
"I was crying and felt sick," said Kieran's mother, who asked to be named only as Michelle. "I couldn't cope and felt like I was empty.
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"It made me think of what happened to Jamie Bulger."
The boys had approached Kieran when Michelle's back was turned and persuaded him out of the store, saying he could meet their "famous" father.
"These boys told Kieran I wouldn't be upset if he went with them and he believed them because that's how he is," said Michelle.
She said her son has a developmental disorder, Williams syndrome, which makes him more trusting of strangers.
"They said their dad was famous and would give him free things," Michelle said.
The boys, understood to be young teenagers, took Kieran on to a bus for the city centre. After it had set off, they admitted to Kieran they had lied to him.
Kieran became distressed and a fellow passenger, sensing something was wrong, led him off the bus and walked with him to Braunstone police station.
There, Kieran told officers he had been at Asda with his mum and they took him back to Fosse Park – ending the frantic search for him.
Michelle, 32, reported the incident to Leicestershire Police but the force said no crime had been committed – something she is unhappy about.
"I'm not happy they don't think it's a crime," said Michelle, from Lutterworth. "It's shocking. Kieran went with the other boys willingly but he didn't understand what he was doing."
Michelle said she was grateful to the man on the bus who went to Kieran's aid.
She said: "This has really opened my eyes to the danger. Anything could have happened."
Michelle was helped in the search for Kieran by Tracey White, of Hinckley, whose son goes to the same special school.
Tracey saw Kieran leaving the shop with the teenagers but assumed they were friends.
"I didn't realise anything was wrong until they made a public announcement in Asda about Kieran," she said.
"Michelle was distraught and didn't know what to do.
"When Kieran came back he seemed petrified, like a completely different boy.
"He said the boys told him they were taking him to see their dad, who was famous and would give him stuff.
"He gave me a cuddle and said 'I'm lucky, ain't I?'.
"I was also thinking about what happened to Jamie Bulger and that it could have been my son."
A police spokeswoman said at 4pm on Tuesday, August 28, an 11-year-old boy left a supermarket in Narborough Road South voluntarily with two boys and got on to a bus.
A passenger noticed the boy was upset and took him to a police station.
Officers created a vulnerable child incident but said no offence was committed.
She said when the officer reunited the boy with his mother the child apologised and said he would not do it again.
Are you the man on the bus who took Kieran to the police station? Call reporter Tom Mack on 0116 222 4264 to get in touch with the family.