Thugs steal deaf girl's mobile phone

THE leader of a national charity has slammed heartless thugs who beat then robbed a young deaf girl of her mobile phone - crucial for texting with her mother who is also deaf.

THE leader of a national charity has slammed heartless thugs who beat then robbed a young deaf girl of her mobile phone - crucial for texting with her mother who is also deaf.

Tom Fenton, chief executive of the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD), said the two callous youths who pounced on a teenager in Chelmsford at the weekend had deprived her of her "freedom" to go out alone.

The 13-year-old, who is profoundly deaf, was left terrified after the attack on the Riverside cycle path near Arbour Lane at about 5pm on Saturday

She had been walking home alone when two dark skinned youths wearing hooded tops tried to grab her bag, police said.


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When she resisted, one of the muggers punched her in the stomach.

They tore open her bag and took her new Samsung V200 mobile phone, which she had just bought for £340.

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The attackers then fled with the phone and also the girl's purse containing £30 cash and photographs of school friends.

An Essex Police spokesman said the girl was extremely shaken, but she declined medical attention.

Mr Fenton, who is based at RAD's Colchester headquarters, said mobiles had become crucial means of communication for young deaf people.

He said: "In a world where very few people know sign language, text messaging is almost the only means of communication that allows deaf children of deaf parents to be free to go out by themselves.

"To deprive them of their phone is like gagging and blindfolding another child. It makes me very angry.

"Text messaging has been crucial in bringing freedom to young deaf people."

Essex Police are appealing for information about the girl's attackers, one of whom had his hair in short one-inch braids.

Both were in their late teens and they wore dark hooded tops and grey trousers.

Anyone who knows anything or who saw the men or the incident is asked to call Chelmsford police on 01245 491212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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