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Courageous youngster, 7, suffering nightmares after chasing mugger who stole her phone in Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 12:29 03 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:30 03 July 2013

Aaliyha John-Baptiste, 7, with her mum Marie

Aaliyha John-Baptiste, 7, with her mum Marie

Archant

A brave seven-year-old girl who chased a mugger down the street after he snatched her mobile phone from her hand has admitted she’s now suffering from nightmares.

Aaliyha John-Baptiste was walking to the shops along Harrow Road, Barking, when a youth grabbed her aunt’s Blackberry phone – given to her for safety – and ran off, with Aaliyha tailing behind him and shouting.

Aaliyah was mugged on Saturday, June 22, and her mum said the shock had made her more alert to the dangers of playing outside.

Aaliyha said: “I was a bit scared in case I was going to get in trouble [for losing the phone]. I was shaken and upset but I was pleased that I ran after him.

“At night I have bad dreams about this person.

“Like I’m walking to school then all of a sudden there is a person coming, then I’m scared, and then the person comes and they steal everything I have.”

But despite her fears, Aaliyha added: “I think other people should stand up for themselves because if they don’t, other people keep bullying them and try to take their things.”

The year three pupil at Gascoigne Primary School, Barking, couldn’t catch up with the thief, who has also evaded police.

Aaliyha’s mum, Marie John-Baptiste, 27, of Devon Road, Barking, said she was shocked to hear of her daughter’s bravery.

She said: “I’m happy and I’m very proud of her in the sense of what she has done, but at the same time I just thank God that she came back in one piece and the worst did not happen.”

Neighbour Elizabeth Ojuolape, 63, said she saw Aaliyha chase the youth up to the junction with Ripple Road shouting “give me back my phone”.

Detectives – who recommend people avoid fighting back during a robbery because of safety concerns – are looking for a white youth, aged 16 to 17, with spiky black hair and a goatee beard. He was wearing a grey top under an orange body warmer.

• Anyone with information should call Det Con Malcolm Young of Barking and Dagenham CID on 020 3276 1059 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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