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Over the last three days officers have been investigating the serious racially aggravated assault which took place outside Thomas Knyvett School in Ashford on Monday (6 February).
Four people were 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. A 15 year old girl remains outstanding.
More than 50 officers and staff have been involved with both the investigation and ongoing engagement with the local community who are understandably extremely concerned about the attack.
The investigating team continues to work hard to build a case to present to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision in order to deliver justice for both victims. We have been engaging with them from an early stage in order to ensure we have the best possible evidence. In the meantime, all those arrested have now been released on conditional bail until a date in March.
Chief Inspector Dallas McDermott said: “We know this will be concerning and upsetting for the victims, their friends and family, and for the wider community who are understandably shocked and outraged at the violence in this video.
“I want to make clear that the suspects being bailed does not mean justice won’t be pursued further or achieved. Officers and staff working on this case have found the footage as distressing as the public have. I can assure you the speed and vigour with which we are working to build this investigation has not wavered. We will be issuing updates as and when we can.”
The victims and their families are grateful for the support they have received from the public; however, they have found the widespread coverage of this incident upsetting. So we again urge the public to stop sharing these distressing videos of the incident online out of consideration for the victims and to protect any future court proceedings.
In the meantime, we ask that anyone with footage or imagery of this incident on mobile devices, CCTV, dashcam or helmet cam footage please upload it at the following secure link: https://unitedkingdom1cpp-portal.digital-policing.co.uk/serip/appeal/assault-in-salcombe-road-ashford-2-30-pm-monday-6th-feb-2023