A 13-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by a female pervert after being groomed online and lured to a hotel – 250 miles away from home.
The youngster – who was dressed in school uniform – flew from her home in Cornwall to meet the predator at Gatwick airport, where a flight had been arranged to take the pair to Ireland.
The woman met the teenager and took her to a nearby hotel, where she is alleged to have assaulted the youngster.
The female pervert, 35, then bought the impressionable teenager clothes as well as tickets for them to fly on to Northern Ireland.
But the youngsters’ parents became suspicious and, after searching her internet history, alerted cops who swooped on the hotel at 5am on Tuesday.
Officers arrested the woman on suspicion of sexual assault on a minor and grooming a minor for sexual purposes.
The girl’s mother, 40, has told of her relief that her daughter has been returned safe and well – and her horror of what may have happened.
The woman, from Newquay, Cornwall, said: ”It’s every parent’s nightmare. My girl could have been murdered. A million things could have happened.
”She was even wearing her school uniform. She is a 13-year-old kid who looks her age. This woman didn’t do this to take my daughter back to Northern Ireland to live happily ever after – and that scares me.
”Forty years ago you had to hide behind a bush to grab a child. Now you can just sit in a chatroom. It shows nowhere is safe. It’s absolutely nuts.
”Whatever happened, I’m glad my daughter is still alive. It could have been so much worse. But we have been left with a life sentence. We will never get over this and neither will my daughter.”
The girl is believed to have met the suspect, from Northern Ireland, on a social networking site around six months ago.
She fled after school on Monday for Newquay airport and caught a Gatwick-bound plane, posing as a 17-year-old.
Officers found the pair in Horley, Surrey, the next day, and also seized items from an address in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.
The girl’s mum added: ”An officer told me CCTV pictures show the woman giving my daughter a hug and kissing her on both cheeks at Gatwick. We only found out where she had gone by hacking into her internet messages.
”They showed details of all the travel arrangements, which we passed on to police. An officer told me the woman bought clothes for my daughter and booked tickets for them to fly to Belfast, making out she was her mother.”
Investigators revealed how three forces were involved in the rescue.
A spokesman for Surrey Police, which was assisted in the rescue by two other forces, said the suspect had been released on bail.
He said: ”Officers attended an address in Horley at around 5am on Tuesday following a request from Devon and Cornwall Police, who were conducting a missing persons inquiry.
”Officers arrested a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of sexual assault on a minor and grooming a minor for sexual purposes. She has been released on conditional bail until January.
”We are liaising with Devon and Cornwall and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Inquiries are continuing.”
A spokesman for Northern Ireland police added: ”Following a request from Surrey Police, officers searched a house in Cookstown, Co Tyrone. A number of items were removed for further examination.”
A Cornwall council spokeswoman confirmed it and the girl’s school were helping the police inquiry.