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Child snatched in Hampton churchyard on way to school
Parents are on red alert after a man tried to abduct a child walking to school this morning.
The nine-year-old girl was steps away from her front door and a few feet behind her mother when she was snatched by a man in St James’s Church yard, in St James’s Avenue, Hampton Hill.
The schoolgirl’s mother, who did not want to be named, said her daughter escaped from the man’s clutches after she kicked him in the shin twice, causing him to cry out and release her.
She said: “We were walking into the churchyard. My daughter was walking a few feet behind as we went in.
“We carried on walking thinking she was behind us. I turned around and realised something had happened.
“I was screaming and calling out to my neighbours and phoned my husband. We are all in shock.”
The distressed mother said the man was wearing a grey hooded top and tracksuit bottoms and wore a plastic looking watch.
She warned neighbours and friends of the incident, which happened just after 9am.
She said: “You don’t expect this to happen. A lot of children use that route through and walk alone. I was with my daughter and it happened.”
Hampton Hill Junior School, in the same road, and Hillpark Nursery School, based in church hall of St James’s Church, said they had been visited by police and warned parents to be vigilant.
Police carried out door to door enquiries but have not yet released a full description of the man or an appeal.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that police received an allegation of an attempted abduction of a nine-year-old girl.
“Detectives from Richmond CID are currently investigating the alleged incident which is believed to have taken place in St James’s Avenue, Hampton Hill.
“The girl is not physically injured and is with her family.”
Residents in St James’s Avenue described the area as a tight-knit community and said they were shocked by the news.