Angry dad's plea after park attack

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 July 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

AN ANGRY dad has hit out at a lack of a permanent security presence in Ipswich's recreation areas after his teenage daughter was attacked in a town park.

AN ANGRY dad has hit out at a lack of a permanent security presence in Ipswich's recreation areas after his teenage daughter was attacked in a town park.

Raymond Harvey's 14-year-old child is too terrified to leave her house following the gang beating in Alexandra Park which left her needing hospital treatment.

The teenager, who asked not to be named publicly, said she was threatened with stabbing and was pushed to the ground where she was dragged and kicked before managing to escape from a gang of three girls as five boys looked on.

"People need to know what's happening in our park areas," said Mr Harvey, 45, of Foxhall Road. "We want to alert the public to the situation. I'm not happy that my daughter has been attacked and, with no supervision, it could happen any time of the day."

But the head ranger of Ipswich Parks said there are 11 patrol staff on duty during weekends and evenings carrying out regular checks on all of the town's parks. Steve Hunt said two rangers are on duty at Christchurch Park, one each at Bourne Park, Chantry Park and Holywells Park, and the rest carry out frequent checks on Ipswich's other recreation areas.

The teenage victim said she had been walking with a 14-year-old friend in the park at around 8.15pm on Sunday, July 29, when a group of youngsters approached and asked if they had gold or money.

When the pair said they had none, one of the girls in the group insisted they walk to a quiet spot in the park near King's Avenue. "They said they would stab us if we didn't go down the hill," she said.

One of the girls hit her on the head with a stone, the teenager said. "She pushed me on the floor and was kicking me and dragging me," she added.

"The other girl was telling my friend to get on the floor. I got up and she swung for my face. She went over to my friend and they were both kicking her."

The teenager managed to escape while two of the girls assaulted her friend on the ground. She knocked on a door in King's Avenue for help and a householder, who had heard the screams, called police.

"I was cut on the back of my ear and bruised around my face, which aches," the teenaged victim said. "I was really scared."

The youngster's friend had her nose ring ripped out in the attack, during which she was kicked in the face. Both girls were taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment.

Head ranger Mr Hunt said on the day of the attack, at least eight or nine visits were made to Alexandra Park by a ranger but there was no evidence of trouble during any of them. On weekdays, three mobile rangers patrol the town's parks as well as a "field team" of four or five dealing with park and gardening issues. Added to this, is a strong council presence in terms of workmen, gardeners and so on, Mr Hunt said.

"We make do with the budget as efficiently as possible," he added. Park rangers are in constant contact with the civic centre and can be alerted in case of any difficulty on 01473 4334444.

Police confirmed they had received a report of two 14-year-old girls being attacked in the area of Alexandra Park on Sunday evening. They appealed for any one who saw a group of youths fighting in the park or King's Avenue vicinity to contact Pc Sayer at Ipswich police station on 01473 383100.

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