Five suspects arrested in connection with a ‘vicious’ racially-motivated attack on a 15-year-old black girl have been banned from Surrey as police urged a further teenager to hand herself in.
Footage shared online appeared to show the pupil being punched, kicked and having her hair pulled while her attackers were egged on by adults outside Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford, Surrey, on Monday afternoon.
On Friday, Chief Inspector Dallas McDermott of Surrey Police described the incident as “disturbing” and said he is “disappointed” with the reaction of the public in the video.
READ MORE: 80,000 people sign petition calling for Ashford headteacher to resign after schoolgirl ‘beaten up’ and girls, 10 and 11, arrested
Four people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted racially aggravated grievous bodily harm, including a 39-year-old woman, 16-year-old girl and two 11-year-old girls.
The woman and a 43-year-old man were also arrested on suspicion of child neglect and intentionally encouraging and assisting the commission of an indictable-only offence. The 16-year-old was also arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.
Mr McDermott, who works in neighbourhood policing in North Surrey, said a number of officers were trying to bring the sixth suspect, a 15-year-old girl, into custody.
Speaking about his initial reaction to the video, he told the PA news agency: “Straight away when I was watching it, I was extremely shocked to see the level of violence that was used and the number of offenders that also targeted this girl – really shocking to see.
“I’ve said that (I’ve had) 23 years in the police, and as a police officer to watch that is disturbing, not just as a father. So I can understand how shocked, how angry, not just the local community are but the wider community to see such a vicious attack.”
Mr McDermott said although there are still pieces of evidence to gather, meaning the suspects were released on bail, they are subject to some “stringent bail conditions”.
He said: “There’s a certain threshold we need to get to get evidence and get charges. Unfortunately we weren’t quite there yet. There’s some key pieces of evidence that we need to present to the CPS so we’re doing that as swiftly as we can.
“We can’t just rely on the video for evidence in this case. We’ve had to release them on bail but they’ve been given some stringent bail conditions and one of those conditions is that they can’t enter Surrey.”
The cousin of the girl brutally set upon by a gang of school children has claimed her relative had nine braids torn from her head during the fight. Ange rushed from her home in Northampton to Ashford in Surrey where her family lives after learning of the incident, which occurred on Monday, February 6, at around 2:30pm.
“Surprisingly, she is physically unscarred,” Ange told MyLondon. “She’s had nine braids ripped out of her scalp and emotionally, she’s recovering. [My cousin has] got such a good support system around her.”
Ange said her cousin’s spirits had been lifted by the outpouring of support online and by the protest today (February 8) outside the school gates attended by around 100 people.
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