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Girls warned to be on their guard

PUBLISHED: 21:01 29 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

THOUSANDS of girls across the Chantry estate have been warned to be on their guard today after an 11-year-old girl was accosted.

Days after head teachers used assemblies to stress the need for caution following the masked rape of a 20-year-old, three men attempted to entice an 11-year-old girl into the back of a car.

THOUSANDS of girls across the Chantry estate have been warned to be on their guard today after an 11-year-old girl was accosted.

Days after head teachers used assemblies to stress the need for caution following the masked rape of a 20-year-old, three men attempted to entice an 11-year-old girl into the back of a car.

Police are not linking the accosting with the rape of a woman in the Pelican Close area of the estate last Friday.

The rapist was a white man acting alone whereas the later accosting was by three black men.

Police are keen to stress that while they are treating the accosting as suspicious, women should not be unduly fearful.

A police spokesman said: "When there is a stranger rape in the area there is a heightened sense of fear in the community. The girl did absolutely the right thing in coming forward but, at this stage, the men may not have even committed an offence."

The Chantry Junior pupil was on her way to school at 8am when a black hatchback pulled up beside her at the junction of Hawthorn Drive and Kingfisher Avenue.

Three men in their twenties asked her directions and when she told them she couldn't help they tried to lure her into the car.

Seconds later a school friend appeared and the shaken youngsters ran to a nearby chemist who reported the incident.

The mother of the 11-year-old Chantry Junior pupil has spoken of her fears of living on the estate.

She told the Evening Star: "It's got to the point where you just don't know what to do. The kids still want to go out to play I can't keep them in the house like a prison. When I go the call about my daughter I thought, "Not again".

"I warn all my children to be careful when they are out, to go around in pairs. Who knows what might have happened if my daughter's friend hadn't appeared, or she hadn't run away. She was aware of the rape because it happened close to where her grandfather lives. It may have been in the back of her mind."

Anyone who may have witnessed the accosting or who may recognised the men driving the black hatchback, all of who were black and in their twenties, should contact Ipswich police on 01473 613500.

Advice panel.

Sarah Turner head teacher at Chantry Junior school has re-iterated safety warnings to pupils.

She said in order not to exaggerate pupils' fear, youngsters at the 250 plus school would not be given safety advice in a special assembly but in the classroom.

She said: "Teachers will talk to the children in class to stress what we already teach pupils as part of their personal safety and health education."

She praised the 11-year-old for carrying out the school's "stranger danger" advice.

She said: "If pupils are approached by a stranger they don't know if they are good or bad. If someone is causing them concern the best thing to do is run to an adult they know or someone they recognise in the community such as a shop keeper or a lollypop lady.

"They are not to think it is their fault."

Her advice however only applied to the time children spent at school.

She went on: "Whether children walk to school on their own or with friends is up to their parents."

Because the school discouraged the use of mobile phones she was not able to comment on their use in an emergency.


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