Man grabs girl, 11

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 09:00 19/04/2014

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School children are being urged to keep safe over the Easter holidays after an attack on an 11-year-old girl outside a Palmerston North dairy.

A Monrad Intermediate pupil was walking to school on April 4 after her parents dropped her at the Rewa Dairy, on the corner of Rewa St and Botanical Rd, when she was grabbed from behind. She had bought lunch from the dairy soon after 8.30am and had about 200 metres to walk to the school gates when she was attacked.

She told the school principal and police that a man clapped his hands over her mouth and eyes and attempted to drag her away.

She started shouting, screaming, kicking and punching the man until she caught the attention of a nearby resident, who came out of a house, causing the man to flee.

The girl ran to school and reported the incident. She couldn't see much of her attacker because he grabbed her from behind, but said his hands smelt dirty, like oil and petrol, and she noticed he was wearing a dark, blue hoody as he ran away down Rewa St.

Principal John Forsyth said she was shaken by the incident but had bounced back well. "She did everything right, causing a huge commotion that caught the attention of others and then scaring the man away."

Forsyth said it was frightening to think that the pupil was attacked in peak traffic on Botanical Rd, a busy route into Palmerston North, and urged students and parents to keep their wits about them during the school holidays.

Palmerston North police youth education officer, Constable Emily McMellon, visited Monrad this week to remind pupils to keep safe over the break.

There were two similar incidents of attacks last year.

A 14-year-old Awatapu College girl was grabbed on the arm by a man while walking along College St.

She put up a fight and managed to get away. 

A 23-year-old Palmerston North man was also arrested after allegedly soliciting a sex act from a 15-year-old Awatapu College girl.

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- Manawatu Standard

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