Girl, 13, attacked in church gardens

PUBLISHED: 21:40 13 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 22 October 2010

A 13-year-old girl was subjected to a vicious and unprovoked attack as she walked though a church garden in broad daylight.

A 13-year-old girl was subjected to a vicious and unprovoked attack as she walked though a church garden in broad daylight.

Amber Sturman was left cowering in fear behind a hedge after she was struck several times and knocked to the ground after being set upon at St Peter's Gardens, next to Fakenham Parish Church.

When her best friend, Emma Towers, also 13, went to her assistance, she was struck by the same attacker.

And Emma's father, Martin Towers, was also assaulted after attempting to intervene.

Last night, Fakenham Rector the Rev Adrian Bell backed calls by the girls' families for CCTV cameras and increased police patrols in the gardens following the incident at about 7pm on Monday evening.

Mr Bell said it was only the latest in an on-going series of problems involving drinking and drug-taking in the garden. He has regularly found empty Vodka bottles and used syringes in the gardens.

Emma's mother, Lisa Towers, described the incident as an “unprovoked terrifying attack”.

The two girls were walking with Amber's dog through the garden in the centre of Fakenham when Amber was suddenly approached by a 17-year-old girl and struck on the side of the face.

Amber said: “I said 'what are you doing?' and then she got me on the back of the head making me fall to the ground.

“When I was on the ground she hit me in the face knocking off and breaking my glasses. Emma tried to pull her off and she was elbowed in the stomach. It was really frightening and I think she must have thought I was someone else.”

Amber was shocked and upset by the ordeal and spent yesterday morning off lessons at Fakenham High School and was treated by her doctor and dentist for facial injuries.

Her mother Glenda Sturman said: “Both girls have only become 13 in recent weeks and we agreed that they could have a bit more freedom but now this has badly hit Amber's confidence.”

Police at Fakenham confirmed they were investigating the assault and a 20-year-old man had been charged with carrying an offensive weapon and assault, both charges relating to the alleged assault on Mr Towers.

The 17-year-old girl, who allegedly carried out the assault on Amber, was interviewed by police before being released. A report will be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service and a decision made if further action will be taken.

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