Four arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault after Black schoolgirl attacked
Four people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted racially aggravated assault after a Black school girl was attacked in the street.
Surrey Police confirmed that a second 15-year-old victim, a white girl, was also attacked in the incident.
The force launched an investigation after a girl was injured in an assault near Thomas Knyvett College, in Ashford, on Monday. A video of the attack was shared on social media.
Officers were called following reports of a fight at around 2.30pm. In total, five people were arrested in connection with the incident, police said, including a 39-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 10-year-old girl, and a 43-year-old man.
The 39-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man were also arrested on suspicion of child neglect and intentionally encouraging and assisting the commission of an indictable only offence. The 16-year-old girl was also arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.
A Surrey Police spokesperson said: “Four people so far have been arrested on suspicion of attempted racially aggravated grievous bodily harm (GBH), including a 39-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl, and two 11-year-old girls.
“The 39-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man were also arrested on suspicion of child neglect and intentionally encouraging and assisting the commission of an indictable only offence. The 16-year-old girl was also arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.”
The force added that a 15-year-old girl is still wanted in connection with the attempted racially aggravated GBH and racially aggravated harassment in connection to the incident.
All those arrested have since been released on conditional bail until a date in March.
Inspector Maxine Cilia, borough commander for Spelthorne, said: “The video footage of this incident is shocking, and we appreciate the concern it will have caused the wider community.
“Every school child should feel safe as they move through the local community, and we will not tolerate this level of violence. We are providing specialist support to the victim who has now returned home after being treated for the injuries she sustained in this distressing assault.
“Officers are working hard to gather as much evidence as possible to build a strong case.
“Parents, pupils, and the wider public will notice extra police patrols in the area around Thomas Knyvett College today. The officers are there to engage with and reassure the community, and we encourage you to approach them if you have any concerns or questions and they will help you in any way they can.”
An Ofsted spokesperson said they’re aware of attack on the Black schoolgirl at Thomas Knyvett College and are “considering next steps”.
A protest about the attack took place outside the school on Wednesday afternoon, and The Independent understands that this prompted staff members to end the school day earlier than usual.
Around 200 attendees assembled near to the college in a demonstration arranged by a community activist, known as Raspect, from a grassroots collective called Forever Family.
Forever Family, which is based in south London, will be providing the victim with self-defence classes and school tuition sessions to help with her learning, Raspect said.
“When it comes to the children, we’re stepping up,” he told protest attendees. “We don’t care if it’s gangs, police or the government – we’re taking a stand.
“We’ve seen the video. These situations that our children are facing ... they’re not going to face it alone. We’re letting the little girl know that we’re proud of you! You’re a warrior, you had five hyenas trying to bite at your ankles and you’re a lioness that stood up!
“Now we’re about tangible solutions: steppers only. We’re putting boots on the ground. Us standing here today sends a ripple effect, to every person in and outside of this community, about what happens when you try to oppress the children. That’s why we’re here.”
Richard Beeson, the principal at Thomas Knyvett College, described the beating as a “violent altercation” and an “isolated” incident in a statement on Wednesday.
“We are aware that the incident will have caused concern among students and parents/carers,” he said. “We can reassure you that we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure this isolated incident is dealt with and that student safety is our paramount concern.”