Van chase hero: I had to make a stand
A have-a-go hero today told how he chased a man around the outskirts of Ipswich to save a girl he feared had been kidnapped by a stranger.
IPSWICH: A have-a-go hero today told how he chased a man around the outskirts of Ipswich to save a girl he feared had been kidnapped by a stranger.
Hector Seaman is now serving a 15-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to assaulting the 14-year-old during a fight in which he dragged her into his van near the St Augustine's roundabout.
Derek Upson, who saw the attack, pursued the 26-year-old in his Mercedes while giving police a running commentary on his mobile phone as to Seaman's whereabouts.
It was due to Mr Upson, who lives in Ipswich, that officers were able to catch Seaman with the girl as he tried to get on to the A14 at Seven Hills, near Nacton.
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Despite putting himself in jeopardy, Mr Upson said: “There's no way I would have left the girl. I would do it again.
“You can't let people do that sort of thing. You've got to make a stand somewhere.”
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Mr Upson was driving into Ipswich in his Mercedes automatic when he saw Seaman assaulting the teenager at around 8.45pm on May 3.
He said: “I saw this chap hitting a girl. She was clinging on to a fence and he was hitting her. I pulled up, got out of the car and shouted 'what are you doing? Leave her alone'.”
When Mr Upson walked towards Seaman, he bundled the girl into his van and drove off.
Mr Upson said: “It happened so quickly it was incredible. He went speeding off down Bucklesham Road. He was going along there from 40mph to 70mph to 80mph.
“I got my phone out and phoned the police station and told them what I had seen. I was in contact with the woman at the police station all the time.
“The van was going at high speed. I just kept up with him all the time. I thought I can't back off now, I couldn't leave the girl.
“I followed him nearly all the way to Bucklesham. He suddenly pulled down a farmyard driveway near the bridge. I went in behind him.
“I think it shocked him. I went to get out of the car. All of a sudden he turned around facing Ipswich and did two finger sign like a gun, like youngsters do.
“I followed him to make sure he didn't turn off anywhere. He got 30 or 40 yards off the (Seven Hills) roundabout and pulled up. Then he drove off at speed round the roundabout towards Sainsbury's.
“By then I could hear police cars. As soon as he went over the roundabout a police car came along and I said to the woman on the phone that I was going to get away.”