The mother of a nine year-old girl said she has been left distressed and in shock after a man attempted to grab her daughter and pull her into a car in broad daylight just minutes from her school in Co Down.
The man grasped the P5 pupil by her schoolbag as she walked to meet her mother in Dromore just before 2pm on Tuesday afternoon. In a matter of seconds, just as she heard voices nearby, the man let go of the young girl and she ran to the nearby St Vincent de Paul charity shop in Mount Street.
Both Dromore Central PS and St Colman’s PS sent letters to parents yesterday informing them of the incident and warning them to be vigilant, and it is understood other schools in the area contacted parents too.
The girl’s mother, speaking to the News Letter through a friend, said she still could not believe what she considered to be an attempted child abduction had happened.
“Both the child and her mum are still in a state of shock,” said the family friend who was in the shop at the time. “The wee girl was very pale, you could tell something had happened. She told us immediately and we ran outside but the man was gone.”
Thinking of what might have happened had the passers-by not disturbed the man does not bear thinking about, the friend added.
Mount Street sits just off Dromore’s main Square and the area is thought to have been relatively busy at the time.
Linda Allen, principal of Dromore Central PS, where the pupils had been let out early due to parent-teacher meetings, said the school took action as quickly they could.
“It is a very upsetting thing to have happened,” said Mrs Allen. “Thankfully the child is fine as she managed to break away. As a result of what has happened we are asking parents to be vigilant and be aware.
“We have already spoken to the children, reminding them of ‘stranger danger’. We do not want to cause undue anxiety or upset but we thought it was wise to send a letter out as soon as possible.”
The male involved in this incident is described as being approximately 5ft 10in tall, white with a clean shaven complexion and short, black hair.
He was wearing a red and black checked shirt and blue jeans.
The girl’s mother said the car was a dark colour - between grey and silver.
Anyone who witnessed this incident can contact police in Banbridge on 0845 600 8000, quoting ref: 599110314.