Stranger driver tried to lure child into car in Dagenham
A distraught mum has told how her 11-year-old daughter arrived home in tears after a man tried to coax her into his car while she was walking home from school.
Tina Dulieu, 35, said daughter Lucy was “shaken” after the incident last Thursday afternoon as she walked home by herself for the first time.
She told her mother that a stranger had approached her in a car while she was on the corner of Green Lane and Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham.
When she reached the traffic lights and crossed Whalebone Lane South, the stranger pulled into James Avenue, where he began to talk to Lucy.
Tina said: “He said, ‘you look like you’re struggling with your bag. Would you like a lift?’
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“She told him, ‘I won’t go in the car with strangers,’ and he said, ‘I’m not a stranger.’
“She got scared and ran away. He drove off towards Chadwell Heath.”
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Lucy, a pupil at Robert Clack School, Dagenham, ran home to Temple Avenue.
Police are investigating the incident and Ch Insp Richard Goodwin told the Post that the 11-year-old “did exactly the right thing”.
Tina added: “I’m glad she is safe. He could have pulled her in to the car. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she had not come home.
“Thank God she ran. I felt guilty because I didn’t pick her up for the first time. I feel so upset.”
Now Tina has vowed to collect her daughter rather than let her walk and has also decided that Lucy will not be allowed go out unsupervised.
Meanwhile the mother says she is concerned at the long-term effects that this could have on her daughter.
“It’s upsetting her life,” she said. “I let her off the lead because she’s growing up.
“I want to make people aware that there’s man lurking about in the area.”
A police spokesman said: “The suspect is a white man, aged around 40, of skinny build, with short black hair and an earring in his right ear. He spoke with a foreign accent.”
Mr Goodwin said: “Safer neighbourhoods officers are working closely with the dedicated schools police officer for Robert Clack and school staff to ensure that all pupils are made aware of the person who offered the pupil a lift home.
“The 11-year-old approached by this suspect did exactly the right thing.
“All children should be reminded of the danger of getting into a car or going anywhere with a stranger.”
A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said: “Schools police officers work with school staff to patrol the local area after school times and the transport police work with us to ensure transport is safe.
“Schools run regular personal safety sessions, as part of personal, social, health and emotional education sessions – including teaching stranger danger from an early age.
“Our parenting courses also support parents in advising their children on how to stay safe.
“It is clear that this young woman knew exactly what to do.”