herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Father reveals how brave Danielle escaped abductor

A RELIEVED dad has told how his daughter escaped from a would-be abductor.

Brave Danielle Hamilton (10) was kept home from school today by her parents amid fears the culprit will strike again.

Her father Nigel told the Herald that the traumatised girl wanted to go back to the classroom but they didn't allow her as a precaution.

"There is no doubt in my mind that he'll strike again," he said.

"It's such a relief for our family that Danielle is okay. She wants to go to school today but we're keeping her home as a precaution," Mr Hamilton told the Herald.

"I have to commend my daughter on her quick thinking actions. She was bundled into the back of the car but managed to escape through the opposite door."

He said the incident immediately brought up images of Madeleine McCann.

Teachers at the Bray School Project in Co Wicklow immediately notified every parent of the attempted kidnapping by text .

"The gardai and the school have been absolutely fantastic. Danielle gave a good description of what the man looked like.



CULPRIT

"All I can say now is I hope to God the culprit is caught. It's not the first time an attempted abduction has happened in the area," explained the dad.

Many children were escorted by their parents to the school today.

One concerned parent said she normally lets her daughter walk to school but now she is terrified about her safety.

"I'm accompanying my daughter to school from now on. It could happen to her next time. I just hope the guards catch this monster," she said.

Mr Hamilton said Danielle will probably go back to school in the next few days.

Nigel and his wife Bernie are "thanking their lucky stars" they are not out looking for Danielle.

The youngster was interviewed by gardai trained in dealing with child witnesses yesterday and she spoke to gardai again this morning.

The incident happened at Boghall Road in Bray.

When she arrived at school, Danielle was extremely upset.

She told her parents later that as she approached the school a man was sitting in a white VW Golf, facing the building.

Mr Hamilton said that Danielle described the culprit as wearing a "bandana on his face and a woolly hat".

The man got out and ordered Danielle into the vehicle but she refused and walked on.

He then grabbed her by the wrist and forced her into the car, telling her to shut up and starting the engine, Nigel said.

However, Danielle, who is a yellow belt at kickboxing, managed to jump out.

She has already showed investigators the exact location where the incident took place.

A Garda spokesman told the Herald today the matter is "still under investigation" and that no arrests have been made.

Mr Hamilton urged other parents to be vigilant, saying they should not let their children walk alone.

Danielle does not usually go to school alone but yesterday morning her older sister had gone on ahead.

Danielle raised the alarm at 8.55am when she told her sister and an adult in the yard what had happened.

CCTV footage has also been examined.

Danielle said she was only able to escape when the car became stuck in rush-hour traffic, giving her an opportunity to flee.

She had been waiting for a friend to walk to school just prior to the abduction attempt, which happened at 8.35am.

The Bray School Project national school is located on nearby Killarney Road.

The suspect is described as being in his 30s and the car is believed to have driven off in the direction of the N11.

hnews@herald.ie

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