Muswell Hill child escapes abduction attempt near school

A relieved mother has spoken of her “incredible” shock after her nine-year-old son escaped an abduction attempt from a man in a white van.

The young boy, a pupil at Coldfall Primary School in Muswell Hill, was walking home along Sydney Road at around 4.45 following an after-school club.

A medium-sized van drew up beside him and a man leant out and offered him sweets if he would join him inside.

Thinking on his feet, the child told the stranger that he had an appointment at home, just around the corner.

The man “scowled” at him before driving off and the boy waited until the van was out of eyesight before running home last Wednesday evening.


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“It was incredibly worrying,” said the mother-of-two, who is anonymous. “It shook us all up.”

The child has described the stranger, who approached him last Wednesday evening, as an overweight black man with an unshaven face.

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The nine-year-old will still be allowed to walk to school, although he will most likely be given lifts home throughout the winter as it gets dark so early.

His mother believes that the only way for children to learn to be streetwise is to be allowed to have independence - and she is proud of how her son reacted.

“He was the hero of the hour,” the 47-year-old said. “He understood immediately what to do.”

Just ten minutes after the first incident, another pupil at the school saw a “scary” man fitting the same description in a white van at the corner of Coppetts Road and Osier Crescent.

A ten-year-old described a man staring at him, rolling something in his hand, possibly drugs or a cigarette.

The boy “ran like crazy” to his home, five minutes away.

“He just sensed something was wrong,” said his mother.

Both mothers say that Coldfall Primary School has been very responsible in terms of teaching children about “stranger danger” and not getting into cars with strangers.

The school reacted quickly to reports of the incident, holding assemblies and even inviting the young boy who had been offered sweets to speak in front of his class about his experiences.

Haringey council has informed all schools to remind parents to be vigilant.

A Haringey Council spokeswoman said: “Pupil safeguarding is a priority for the council and for all local schools, where there is a clear focus on ensuring all pupils are aware of ‘stranger danger’.”

A police investigation is currently ongoing.

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