South Queensferry attack happened ‘within earshot’ of parents

Detective Inspector Julie Marshall and Chief Inspector James Jones at the scene of the assault. Picture: Scott Taylor

Detective Inspector Julie Marshall and Chief Inspector James Jones at the scene of the assault. Picture: Scott Taylor

A BRAZEN attacker carried out an indecent assault on a seven-year-old girl “within earshot” of her parents, detectives said.

Police revealed that family members were “very nearby” when she was targeted as she played on a popular cycle path in South Queensferry.

This happened very quickly and within earshot of her parents. Someone saw and opportunity and took it.

Julie Marshall

The youngster managed to escape to raise the alarm and has been working with officers to provide a detailed description of her attacker.

Fresh details of her ordeal emerged as detectives renewed their appeal for information a week after the attack which happened behind South Queensferry Bowling Club, between 1.30pm and 1.45pm on Friday, June 3.

Detective Inspector Julie Marshall, from the Public Protection Unit in Edinburgh, said: “This happened very quickly and within earshot of her parents. Someone saw and opportunity and took it.

“The girl is doing really well but was traumatised.”

Police are continuing their investigation, and high-­visibility patrols have been carried out in South Queensferry over the past week.

Officers said they have spoken to a number of residents, dog walkers and members of the public in an effort to identify the suspect.

While police have been “encouraged” by the response from the community, they are urging anyone who believes they may know or have seen the youth responsible to come forward.

They remain confident that “someone within the community” knows the suspect, with the possibility that he is local forming one line of enquiry.

He is described as white, aged between 11 and 18, with hazel-brown hair that was swept forward.

He was wearing dark bottoms, a blue round neck T-shirt with white lettering, had a temporary tattoo on one hand and carried a black and blue rucksack.

DI Marshall said: “It is now one week since a young girl was subjected to an indecent assault in a wooded area of South Queensferry and I would firstly like to thank the public for their incredible support.

“Several members of the local community have already come forward to provide information that continues to be progressed as part of our efforts to trace the suspect.

“I would again ask that anyone who has information relevant to our investigation, who has yet to speak with police, does so immediately by calling 101, making an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by speaking to any of the officers on patrol in the area.”

Chief Inspector James Jones, Local Area for Commander for North West Edinburgh, said: “We will continue to maintain a visible presence within the area to speak with local residents and gather any information that may be relevant to this investigation.

“I remain confident that someone within the community knows the suspect or can help us find him. If this is the case, then please contact police immediately.”