Girl gang beating up 14-year-olds around St Albans

There have been three linked incidents.

There have been three linked incidents. - Credit: Archant

An aggressive gang of girls has been reported terrorising and beating up teenagers in St Albans.

Herts police have linked three instances of assaults inflicted upon separate 14-year-old girls in the last three months.

The Herts Ad has been aware of the attacks for some time, but held off publication to allow the police to collect evidence which may have been deleted if the suspects became aware of the investigation.

The incidents include an attack on a 14 year old girl at Westminster Lodge at 2.25pm on April 2, an altercation at Park Street Lane playing fields at 5pm on April 5 which left another 14 year old girl with bruises, scratches, and a black eye.

Then at 7pm on May 12 another 14-year-old girl was beaten up near McDonald’s on Griffiths Way. On this occasion, the main offender was accompanied by a group of six girls and two boys.

The father of a girl who was with the most recent victim when the attack happened said it was completely unprovoked.

He says the group of friends were innocently buying fast food when a gang of older teens took a disliking to them - first threatening them, then following them outside and cornering the group.

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The 45-year-old dad, who would prefer to remain anonymous, said they threw his daughter’s friend to the ground, pulled her hair, punched her face and kicked her in the head.

After the fight was broken up, the victim and her friends ran away.

He said of the gang: “It seems that they are getting kicks out of it, doing it for the fun of it, having a laugh.

“That bothers me just as much as anything else.”

He has heard of the two other similar attacks on the St Albans parents grapevine, reasoning “there must be many more I haven’t heard about”.

One of these was captured on video, which he has now seen.

“I am absolutely appalled, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, picturing myself in my daughter’s situation, playing it over in my head from her point of view and realising how scared she must have been.

“They are not part of any gangs, they are not used to it and they have never been in a fight before in their lives - so they just walked into a trap.”

He believes the McDonald’s victim had a “lucky escape” and predicts an escalation of the attacks if the gang and its ringleader are not dealt with.

St Albans Ch Insp Stuart Cheek, said: “A 14-year-old girl has been interviewed under caution in relation to these three offences whilst further enquiries continue.

“There have been no further reported incidents since the 14-year-old girl was identified and the three victims of a similar age, fortunately, received relatively minor injuries.

“We are also working with local schools and parents to further educate young people about the consequences of their actions.”

He reiterated that these incidents are rare and St Albans remains a safe place to live.

Ch Insp Cheek added: “I would like to also acknowledge the support of the Herts Ad in delaying publication to enable the investigation to progress which has assisted in police gaining evidence which otherwise may not have been recovered.”

These incidents were about a month before two stabbing incidents in the district.

A boy in his late teens was hospitalised with stab wounds on May 31 after an incident on Snatchup, Redbourn.

Separately, a 16-year-old suffered abdominal injuries after an attack in Verulamium Park on June 15.

Since the attacks, police officers have been given temporary powers of stop and search in specific areas of St Albans city centre.

They searched 11 young people throughout the time the powers were in effect, but none of them were carrying weapons.

Recent crime statistics indicate the number of violent offences for St Albans has increased - for the year ending in December 2016 there were 1,623 and for the year ending in December 2017 there were 2,070.

That is an increase of more than 27 per cent.

The number of those violent crimes which ended in injury has also increased, from 757 for 12 months before December 2016 to 940 for the year before December 2017.

The crime reference for the April 2 incident is F1/18/1512, for April 5 is F1/18/1596, and for May 12 is F1/18/2165.

Anyone with information about any of these crimes should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.