Brighton kidnap suspect gets a prison sentence

A Brighton man who was charged with trying to kidnap an eight year old in the city centre in broad daylight has been jailed for a total of 11 years. 

The attempted kidnap incident took place on the 5th of May in Tidy Street just before 8.30am. The girl had been walking to the post office to post a letter for her parents when Michael Belhawla, 24, grabbed her from behind and put his hands over her mouth. 

The courts heard that Belhawla was extremley drunk and had collided with the young girl. His barrister went onto say "he has been in the care system since he was four. There are drug and alcohol issues. He's complicated". 

Belhawla admitted assault causing grievous bodily harm (GBH), but denied the more serious charges of kidnap. 

Judge Charles Kemp sentenced Belhawla to three years in jail for the offence. He was sentenced to a further eight years for two other offences - wounding with intent and aggravated vehicle taking and driving over the limit and with no insurance. 

The wounding with intent happened in January last year near Castle Square. Belhawla again pleaded guilty to the charges after attacking his victim with a broken bottle.