Mum's warning after man tries to grab schoolgirl in Hemel Hempstead
A schoolgirl was left terrified after a man tried to grab her as she walked back home in Queensway.
The 12-year-old girl was walking near the Nickey Line bridge when a man - believed to be in his 40s - lunged for her arm.
She managed to escape the attacker and ran home, where she immediately told her family before police were called. She was not injured in the incident.
It happened at around 4.45pm on Monday, November 18.
Speaking to the Gazette, the mum of the victim said: "It was an awful experience and has shaken the whole family. It's every parent's worst nightmare and to watch my daughter suffer because of what happened was so hard.
"I'm incredibly proud of my daughter and her quick thinking means she is home safe with us.
"I want to spread the word and make parents aware so they can teach their children what to do if put in that situation. Encourage them to walk in pairs always."
The man has been described as being as white and in his early 40s, roughly 5ft 7in tall, and was wearing grey jogging bottoms, a grey hoodie and a green coat.
Sergeant Paul Conway, of the Hemel Hempstead Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Understandably, this incident was very distressing for the victim and she did the right thing by getting herself to a place of safety.
“We know that news of this will undoubtedly cause concern in the community, but I would like to take this opportunity to reassure residents that we are following extensive enquiries to locate the suspect in order to determine what his intentions were.
“We have also increased high-visibility patrols in response to this report so please do not be alarmed if you see an increased policing presence in the area. If you have any concerns, please approach an officer and they will be able to advise you.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage parents and carers to discuss personal safety with their children and ensure they know that it is appropriate to dial 999 if they believe they are being followed by a stranger.”
If you witnessed the incident, saw a person matching the description in the area at the time or have any further information, you can report it by calling the non-emergency number 101, reporting information online at herts.police.uk/report or via online webchat at herts.police.uk/contact quoting crime reference 41/104262/19.