Mum forced to listen over the phone to daughter being attacked
A horrified mum was forced to listen over the phone as her teenage daughter was attacked by two robbers in a park.
Dental practice worker Paige McDonald, 18, had called her mum Kelly, 37, on her mobile as she took a shortcut home from work through Astley Park in Chorley park to tell her she was safe.
But as they chatted, two men in dark clothing on mountain bikes swerved up to Paige and tried to snatch her handbag.
The chilling robbery, in which petite Paige was pulled to the ground by her ponytail, happened almost seven years to the day that Chorley teenager Jessica Knight, then 14, was stabbed 20 times by attacker Kristofer Beddar as she cut through the same park.
Brave Paige, who attended the same school as Jessica, says she “saw red” and tried to chase the bungling robbers, who cycled away without her bag.
The incident, which happened at 5.40pm on Tuesday, January 13, has reignited debate about the need for lighting in the park.
Mum-of-four Kelly was at home on Great Meadow, Astley Village, with her younger children, Tyler, 14, Kaydan, five, and Lillie, three, when the attack happened.
She said: “It was the most horrifying experience I’ve had. I have never seen my son move so fast – he fled the house with no shoes.
“We had been talking and then all of a sudden I heard her scream and it went muffled.
“I shouted “Somebody’s attacking Paige”. I shouted down the phone that I was coming to get her. She couldn’t respond as she was struggling with them, but I could hear she was hysterical.
“It seemed like a lifetime until she came back on the phone. She said somebody had tried to steal her bag, then she just broke down.”
Visibly upset she added: “What’s really broken my heart is my daughter was so confident and it’s destroyed her. She can’t go her best friend’s house across the road unless one of us stands at the door watching. She won’t ever cut through the park again.
“Everyone should have the right to feel safe going home, whether it’s dark or not. They need to put lighting in the park to make it safer.”
Former Parklands High School student Paige, who attends college one day a week, said: “They didn’t realise I was on the phone, they went straight for my bag.
“It was dark and even though it was a gravel path I didn’t hear them approach.
“If it had been lit I might have seen them and had a bit of a warning. I rang my mum because I don’t like the dark, but I should have been safe, it was teatime.
“They snatched my bag hard and the strap snapped. They didn’t say anything, but one of them pulled my hair and pulled me to the ground.
“All my things had fallen out of my bag. I could hear my mum screaming down the phone. The first robber rode off but the second grabbed me to try to steady himself as he tried to grab the bag.
“I shouted after them and tried to chase them, but I just broke down.”
Coun Bev Murray, who oversees Astley Park, said: “This was obviously a frightening and distressing incident. Improving the lighting in Astley Park is within the Astley 2020 development plan which is currently being considered. .
“Safety for the public has to be paramount but at the same time we need to make sure that any new features are in keeping with the nature of the park.”
A spokesman for the Friends of Astley Park group said: “We are not against lighting as a safety issue - we were opposed to floodlighting ideas as we felt it would attract the wrong type of people to the park at night.But we understand the council are already looking at ways to light the park and are considering different options such as floor level lighting.”
Anyone who might have any information about the robbery please call 101.