Karate girl, 11, fights off attacker in Bristol
AN 11-year-old girl used her karate skills to fight off a man who attacked her as she was walked to school.
Jade Pidden noticed a man following her in a secluded lane in Stockwood.
The brave schoolgirl tried to run away but the man grabbed her by her rucksack, and that's when Jade's three years of karate training kicked in.
She used all her strength to elbow him in the chest and punch him in the face, causing her shocked attacker to flee.
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When Jade got to school she told the receptionist what happened and the on-site police officer was informed.
Police are investigating the disturbing incident and asking for witnesses to come forward.
Brown-belt Jade says she first spotted the man when she turned off Lyons Court Road and into Winash Close.
By the time she reached the lane running between the Imperial ground field and Knowle golf course she said he was right behind her and asking to speak to her.
Jade ran away through a gap in the fence and into the field, pursued by the man who managed to grab her rucksack.
But she fought back, delivering the blows that saw her attacker run off.
Jade, who has a twin sister Amber, said: "I had walked ahead of my sister and her friend when I saw a man following me. I ran away but he grabbed my bag which was over both my shoulders on my back – I think he was trying to attack me.
"He was trying to grab me, not my bag. The bag was just something he was able to get hold of when I ran.
"When he did I just automatically responded by elbowing him in the chest and punching him in the face.
"He looked pretty shocked and ran away with his hand over one eye. I was quite upset but my sister and her friend comforted me on the rest of the way to school."
Jade's parents, pictured with their daughter, believe the incident may have been an abduction attempt.
Her mum Carly Maughan, 31, a nursing home housekeeper, said: "When I was phoned by the police I was so shocked – it really didn't sink in. Then I became very upset.
"The police say they think it was a attempted robbery but that's not my gut feeling. I'm so proud of her – she was very brave."
Jade's dad Stuart, 33, a self-employed mechanic, added: "Jade just lashed out and I am glad she did. Clearly three years of karate lessons has paid off.
"The police say it was an attempted robbery but why would anyone want a bag with homework in? We worry it was something worse and are concerned if it happened again the girl might not be so lucky."
Simon Hall, Jade's instructor at the Bristol Martial Arts Academy in Hengrove, said: "I rang her dad to make sure she was OK after I heard what had happened.
"We think Jade will be looking at doing her black belt in March next year. It just goes to show a little bit of training can go a long way."
Jade described the man as white, 6ft tall, slim, in his early 20s, with light brown hair and a long fringe.
She said he was wearing a blue hoodie, with white writing and tight jeans with black and white Nike trainers.
A police spokesman said: "Police received a report of an attempted robbery in Stockwood on October 6 at 8.15am. A young girl was walking to school when she was followed by an unknown man.
"She ran into Imperial field and the male ran after her and tried to grab her bag.
"She managed to push away the man with some force and he ran off in the direction of Ellesmere Road.
"Police are in contact with the victim and her family and would ask anyone with information to contact us on 101 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555111."