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The Guardian

Five arrested after video circulates of attack on Surrey schoolgirl

By Geneva Abdul,

A building at Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford. Photograph: Thomas Knyvett College / Facebook

Five people have been arrested after what police allege was a “serious racially aggravated assault” on a black teenager outside a school in Ashford, Surrey.

A 39-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl, and two 11-year-old girls have been arrested on suspicion of attempted racially aggravated grievous bodily harm, according to Surrey police, who were called after a fight broke out outside Thomas Knyvett college on Monday afternoon.

A 43-year-old man and the woman, 39, were also arrested on suspicion of child neglect and intentionally encouraging and assisting the commission of an “indictable only” offence. Police said the 16-year-old girl was also arrested on suspicion of malicious communications.

“I was shocked to see some of the video footage of this fight and the level of violence from young people outside one of our local schools,” said Insp Maxine Cilia, the borough commander for Spelthorne. “Every schoolchild should feel safe in the local community and not the target of any kind of violence as they leave school premises.”

Police said they responded to calls after reports of a group of people attacking two teenage girls. One of the two girls, both 15, has since attended hospital and received medical treatment.

Police said they were seeking to arrest a sixth person, a 15-year-old girl, over the incident.

“We are aware that this incident will have caused concern among students, parents, and staff at Thomas Knyvett college, as well as the wider community,” a police statement said. Noting the footage circulating online, officers asked individuals not to share videos of the “distressing incident” and instead submit them to the investigation.

Surrey police said in a statement: “Officers continue to investigate the full circumstances and the events leading up to this attack … We know there is a video in circulation online … Previous requests have been made not to circulate this further.

“We know the public wants to share this to raise awareness of this attack, and we completely understand the concern this incident has caused. However, we are conscious of how upsetting the circulation of this video will be, both for the victim and for the wider community. It is also critical to a future court case that this video is not shared more widely.”

In a statement to parents and carers about the incident, which took place outside the school, the principal, Richard Beeson, said a student had been “injured in a violent altercation”, adding: “We can reassure you that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure this isolated incident is dealt with and that student safety is our paramount concern.”

Thomas Knyvett College has been approached for comment.

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