Pregnant mum 'attacked' at family Christmas event - as she tried to move epileptic daughter to safety
A pregnant mum has told her local paper how she was attacked at a Christmas lights switch on ceremony after she tried to lead her fitting, epileptic four-year-old to safety.
Bea Raggett, 23, who is 13 weeks pregnant, told Kent Online she was kicked in the stomach as she battled a throng of people to try and get little Jenna out of the crush.
The crowds had gathered to watch the Ashford Christmas lights ceremony when Jenna began to show signs of fitting. Her worried mum and dad, Dan, 26, tried to find a clear space where they could give Jenna her medication should her symptoms escalate.
"One woman even started getting aggressive with me, telling me she had her kids there too and she decided to knee me in the stomach," Bea told the paper, "It was incredibly scary and me and Dan were both really panicked.
"There was a really aggressive atmosphere at times and some people were barging and shoving each other. People could see that I was pregnant and Dan was shouting, telling them that Jenna was having a fit but some people were refusing to get out of the way."
The concerned mum said she was 'so worried' someone might knock her bump, and that she and Dan 'just wanted to get Jenna out of there'.
"People might say that it's not a suitable place for someone with epilepsy or for a pregnant woman but Jenna is not light-sensitive, as some epileptics can be, and her condition is under control with medication," Bea explained. "She's been to fireworks events and been surrounding by masses of people, and that's not been an issue, but stressful situations can trigger more serious attacks."
PC Stephen Noddings from Kent Police told the paper that such events are policed by the organisers and that his force's constables were not part of any pre-planned security operation for the switch-on, but were just patrolling the area as usual.
"This year's event appears to have attracted a much larger crowd than anticipated and much larger than in previous years," he said. "One call was received by the force control room about the size of the crowd but no specific incidents were reported to police."
Local councillor Graham Galpin said he was 'aware of a small number of incidents' in relation to crowd control, but said 'all relevant safety procedures were in place'.
"We are very disappointed that some inconsiderate people took it upon themselves to be disruptive and ruin a hugely popular and successful event for others, including young families," he said, adding that he 'regretted' that people experienced 'anti-social behaviour'.
"We hope that those who are reported to have carried out these mindless acts stay away if they have nothing constructive to bring to a family event," he said.