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Leek woman Gail Walters warns others not to walk home alone at night

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 26, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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A Leek woman is appealing to other females not to walk home alone after nights out after she was followed by a man who demanded sex.

Mum-of-three Gail Walters had been out celebrating her mum's birthday on Saturday evening and was walking alone along Argles Road in Leek when the incident happened.

She told the Post & Times: "I made the mistake of walking home on my own on Saturday night and was followed home by a man with a grey hoodie who approached me at the bottom of Novi Lane.

"I had been walking up Ball Haye Road at around 10.30pm when I thought this man was following me. I kept on looking round at him and at one point he appeared to go into the Ball Haye Tavern.

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"However, by the time I got to the bottom of Novi Lane, near the phone box, he just appeared again. My heart skipped a beat.

"I just presumed he would want my bag and I said 'I don't have any money on me'.

"He replied 'I don't want money I want sex'.

"Thank god I had worn very high uncomfortable stilettos and was walking barefoot.

"I went into protective mode and went to attack him with my shoes, and he ran off in the direction of Ball Haye Road again. It could have been a very different scenario if I hadn't had something to protect myself with though, so I am urging other women to be cautious.

"I rang the police as soon as I got home. I didn't recognise the man.

"He had a hoodie covering most of his face.

"I was focusing more on his hands to make sure he didn't make a grab for me. I think he was aged around his early 20s."

Gail, aged 29, added: "I normally feel safe walking home on my own but I won't be doing it again."

A second Leek woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has told the Post & Times that she experienced a similar incident in Leek on Saturday night.

The 19-year-old said: "It was around 12.30am and I had come out of the Ball Haye Tavern to walk up to Novi Lane to get my car to go back to the pub to pick up my nan and grandad.

"As I was walking up to my car, I turned around and realised that a bloke was walking behind me; he was about a metre away from me. He was wearing a grey hoodie.

"I got into my car quickly and drove to the tavern.

"As I got out of the car I saw that the man had turned around and was walking back down towards me.

"I did feel threatened but fortunately my grandparents then came out of the tavern and the man just walked past us. I think he had been around 21. I didn't report it to the police as I thought it was just some drunk."

A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: "We received a report of suspicious activity just after 11.05pm on Saturday, March 22.

"It was reported that a man had followed a woman as she walked alone along Stockwell Street into Ball Haye Green in Leek.

"He then went past her and appeared to go into a nearby pub, but reappeared in Argles Road where he said something to her.

"It is not known what he said and no attempts were made to touch or assault her."

The spokesman added: "Women are reminded to take normal sensible precautions when it comes to personal safety, such as not walking home alone.

"If you must walk alone, stick to main, well-lit routes and avoid dark, isolated areas such as subways.

"If you have a personal attack alarm carry it with you and make sure you know how to use it.

"Avoid distractions such as using your phone or ear phones and make sure you are fully aware of your surroundings.

"If you are concerned for your safety and believe you are in immediate danger always ring 999."

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