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Safety talks in wake of sex attacks

PUBLISHED: 05:34 29 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

STUDENTS have been given a talk by a leading safety charity in the wake of two sex attacks near their school in Colchester.

Youngsters of all ages at St Benedict's College heard Christine Eales, of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, give advice about avoiding attacks and dealing with assailants.

STUDENTS have been given a talk by a leading safety charity in the wake of two sex attacks near their school in Colchester.

Youngsters of all ages at St Benedict's College heard Christine Eales, of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, give advice about avoiding attacks and dealing with assailants.

Headteacher Alan Whelan said: "For us, in the circumstances where there has been attacks on young girls in the area, this was a very good thing to do. The youngsters took it very, very seriously."

An evening for pupils' parents with Mrs Eales is also being arranged to talk about family safety after the PTA at the school were told of the popularity of her first visit last week.

On her second visit yesterday, Mrs Eales spoke to an assembly of different children about a wide range of personal safety issues.

The first sex attack was on October 10 last year when a man pounced on a 19-year-old in Bluebottle Grove in Lexden, Colchester, and tried to rape her.

Then on December 10, a 17-year-old was sexually assaulted at knife-point on a footpath off Park Road, also in Lexden.

Police later said they believed the incidents could be linked and they were looking for a man aged in his twenties.

A 26-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the first attack was later released without charge after being cleared by DNA evidence.

Police have also been into the school since the attacks to talk to students.

Speaking after the assembly, Mrs Eales said: "It is about thinking ahead and if you are going out late at night, always know what route you are taking and remember there is safety in numbers.

"If confronted by someone, don't be frightened to make a noise and if you are grabbed by them, make yourself repulsive.

"Urinate, defecate or pretend to vomit – do anything that will put them off and make it hard for the perpetrator to do what they want to do.

"The other thing is to keep them talking and remind them that you are a person.

"I try to get across defusing techniques which will enable youngsters to get away, which is the prime objective if you are attacked."

Mrs Eales was a psychiatric social worker who is now a freelance health and safety consultant and works 98% of her time for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

The trust was set up by the mother of Suzy Lamplugh, an estate agent who disappeared while meeting an unknown client in 1986. Her body has never been found but she is presumed murdered and has been declared dead.

The trust works towards the reduction of crime and violence against individuals, focusing on the workplace, transport and schools, and campaigns on safety issues.

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