‘It makes me sick to think about what he could have done to my child.’
The words of a Leyland mum who has spoken of her upset after her 15-year-old was grabbed by a man as she walked home from school.
The girl, who has been left too terrified to walk anywhere on her own since the incident, has found some comfort in knowing that the culprit is now behind bars, her mum said.
Steven Banks, 45, of Belmont Road, Leyland, was last week sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to ‘detaining a child’ in Cocker Lane.
But the victim’s mum, who described her teenage daughter as a ‘fabulous person who does excellent at school’ has said the family is still struggling to put the ordeal behind them.
She told the Guardian: “It was just a normal day and my daughter was staying behind after school like she usually does, to do the things she loves like dancing.
“It wasn’t dark and she’s always walked home on her own, she’s never had any trouble.
“She was just unlucky on this day.”
Banks, who was not known to police before the incident, which happened on January 23, approached the girl near a wooded area and grabbed her arm tightly.
Police say he looked towards the woods as he held her arm. She screamed and cried and managed to get away, running to a nearby house.
Her mum said: “She was so brave and got away.
“She went to the nearest house which had a light on, but she was in such a state. It was horrible for her.
“They were strangers too and she was scared to go in the house, but the woman comforted her and called the police and brought her home.”
Police have praised the teenager for giving such a detailed description of her attacker, and they found him on the streets of Leyland the following day.
“It’s a relief he was caught so soon,” the girl’s mum said.
“She cried when she found out.
“I have to pick her up from school now, though, she’s still too scared to walk home on her own. I do it for my own peace of mind too.”
She added: “I just think ‘how can someone do this to my daughter?’ There’s no excuse for what he did.
“We’re telling her to carry on and don’t let it affect her at school, and she’s having to be a bit tougher than normal and learn to put it behind her.
“I’m trying to get over the thought of what could have happened as well.
“It makes me sick to think about what he could have done to my child.”
Detective Sergeant Ian Derbyshire, from Leyland’s police team, was driving around the Westgate area of Leyland the day after the attack when he saw Banks, who he believed matched the teenager’s description.
After speaking with him, DS Derbyshire had reason to suspect Banks was the culprit, and arrested him.
Police inspector Alison Barff-Lewis said: “This is a good sentence for Banks; it was extremely traumatic for the victim and her family.
“As a result of her detailed witness account and good police work, he is now behind bars.”