Man in balaclava attacks Chorley schoolgirls and tries to force her into car

A man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava has attacked a Chorley schoolgirl in a violent abduction attempt.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:30 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 3:07 pm
Best friends - Southlands schoolgirls Sophie Walsh, 11, (left) and Grace Lister, 12 (right).

Sophie Walsh, 11, was attacked last night (Thursday, January 17) just after 7pm, near the Co-Op store in Moor Road.

Her mum, Lisa, said her daughter had been walking home with a friend, Grace Lister, 12, when a man wearing a balaclava and gloves grabbed her and dragged her into an alleyway.

The man hit Sophie in the head and seized her by the throat before trying to force her into a car.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Best friends - Southlands schoolgirls Sophie Walsh, 11, (left) and Grace Lister, 12 (right).

The Southlands schoolgirls struggled with the would-be kidnapper until the man lost his grip on Sophie and the girls made their escape.

The masked man then ran to his car where an accomplice is believed to have been waiting in the driving seat.

A police spokesman said: "We can confirm we received a report that a man approached two girls ages 11 and 12 at around 7pm last night (Thursday), on Moor Road, close to the Co-op, before grabbing one, punching her to the face and making off with her school bag.

"We understand that people will be alarmed and we would like to reassure members of the public that we take all reports of this nature seriously, and it is being investigated thoroughly.

"Both girls are now being supported by specially trained detectives and we have increased uniformed patrols in the area.

DI Steve Monk of Lancashire Police added: “We would urge members of the public to be vigilant, as always, but at this point the intention behind this incident is unclear.

“We are still in the very early stages of our investigation.

“We would ask anybody with information about the incident, or who was in the area at the time and saw anything that appeared unusual, to get in touch, and we would also urge any motorists who were in the area at the time who may have dashcam footage to contact us.”

Anybody with information should call 101 quoting log number 1169 of January 17 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.