Disgraced sixties movie star Iain Quarrier – a protégé of controversial film director Roman Polanski – dodged prison yesterday (Wednesday) for trying to abduct a screaming five year-old girl in a busy supermarket.
Alcohol and illness ruined Quarrier’s glittering career and he went from the glamour of the 60’s movie world to being locked-up in Bethlem Mental Hospital in 1972.
He pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court to attempted child abduction in Sainsbury’s, Ladbroke Grove, West London on October 7, 2008, and received 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.
Montreal-born Quarrier, 68, of Chesterton Road, North Kensington – now a shadow of the young actor who was the darling of the London psychedelic scene – also produced a cult Rolling Stones movie, starring Mick Jagger and the band, directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard.
Like former collaborator Polanski – currently battling extradition to the U.S. from Switzerland – Quarrier now has a criminal conviction involving an under-age girl.
Quarrier is pictured (centre) attending a sixties film premier with Mia Farrow (far left) and Peter Sellers (far right)
"You pleaded guilty to attempting to abduct a child in a supermarket in front of her mother who was terrified," Judge Aiden Mannon QC told the defendant.
"You sought to drag the child away and you were involved in an earlier disturbing incident when you sought to buy a young girl and offered her £20 and in 1996 you received a caution for indecently assaulting two girls."
The court heard Quarrier, who has a long-term girlfriend Penny, approached a nine year-old girl in the same supermarket two weeks earlier, produced a £20 note, telling her: "I'd like to buy you."
The child and her family were reluctant to pursue a complaint.
"You have a very real problem with drink and have no insight into your offending or drinking," Judge Mannon told Quarrier. "On a number of occassions you turned up to court drunk and late."
Prosecutor Mr. Ian Dear told the court it was 6.30 pm when the victim was in Sainsbury's with her mother at the checkout.
"She heard her daughter scream and saw this defendant had her by the shoulder, holding tightly, and dragging her towards the exit.
"She ran over and confronted him. He said: 'I'm sorry,' and walked away.
"Both mother and daughter were shaken by the incident," added Mr. Dear.
Store security were alerted and the police were called and arrested Quarrier. "The defendant had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath."
When quizzed by officer Quarrier gave a "bizarre" account and now claims he cannot recall the incident.
His lawyer Mr. Hugh Blake-James said: "He has a lot of past history that he can talk about, a lot of interesting things that have happened in his life.
"He puts himself forward as a binge drinker rather than an alcoholic. It may be that all hope is not lost......There are treatments that can assist."
Quarrier is also effected by a debilitating mental condition. "That is obviously very sad. He's a very pleasant man to talk to," added the lawyer.
"This is the behaviour of a man who acted inappropriately while under the influence of alcohol. He is a friendly person who goes up to people in shops and talks to them."
Quarrier escaped a prison term despite Judge Mannon announcing at a previous hearing: "I am of the firm view, at the moment, that this man presents a risk, when in drink, to small children and that is a frightening situation."
"I have never seen a probation officer so insistent that a defendant is such a danger, in drink, to young children."
"This officer is as strong as you can be that you have here a dangerous man." added the Judge, who even adjourned sentencing once to bring the probation officer to court.
"The author of this report says there should be a protective prison sentence to protect the public," said Judge Mannon, troubled by the copycat incident two weeks before the attempted kidnapping.
"I regard that incident as sinister, I treat it with immense seriousness," he said.
Quarrier was directed by Roman Polanski in 1967's 'Dance of the Vampires' and 'Cul-de-sac' (1966) shortly after cutting his teeth in 1964's 'The Fledglings', his big-screen debut.
He also appeared in the George Harrison-inspired psychedelic fantasy 'Wonderwall' (1968) as well as Brit-flick 'Separation' in the same year.
He produced the Rolling Stones' 1968 movie 'Sympathy For The Devil' directed by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard and starring all five members of the band.
Quarrier was also placed under two years supervision with a residency requirement, ordering him to inform the probation service where he is living.
Judge Mannon also made a Prohibitive Activity Order, banning Quarrier from unsupervised contact with children under 16 years-old and ordered him to comply with any alcohol treatment directed by the probation service.