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Home Dartford News Article
A teenager has been left traumatised after she believes three men in a blacked-out minibus tried to kidnap her in a Dartford car park.
The 16-year-old's mother said she has been suffering nightmares about her ordeal, in which the aggressive trio screamed at her and an 18-year-old friend to get in their vehicle.
The pair, who were walking to their car after a day at college in Reynolds Training Academy, managed to flee.
But the girl's mother said she feared they could have been gang-raped, used for sex trafficking or even murdered and dumped in a ditch.
The 46-year-old, who wanted to be known only as Sharon, said: "The sliding door to the back of the van suddenly flew open and there were three men inside.
"They began to shout really aggressively, and that's what frightened the girls the most. More than what they were saying, it was how they said it.
"They were screaming at them to 'get in the van now' and they said that three of four times.
"They were screaming at them to 'get in the van now' and they said that three of four times. My daughter is very shaken up and gets tears in her eyes whenever she thinks about it..." - victim's mother
"My daughter told me the shouting was so loud people must have heard, but the men didn't care.
"The girls walked away, but the men kept shouting and my daughter said 'we've got to run'.
"As soon as they started running, one of the men in the back of the van leaped out and got in the driver's seat and chased after the girls in the van.
"Fortunately, the girls cut through the car park and ran across the road to where their car was. The men couldn't follow because of the one-way system.
"It's not against the law for men to come on to women, but it was clear what these men were after.
"My daughter is very shaken up and gets tears in her eyes whenever she thinks about it."
Sharon said she and her daughter have been left terrified by the ordeal, at about 3pm last Monday.
The teenagers had cut through Prospect Place Retail park and were walking past a dark grey minibus with blacked-out windows when they were targeted.
Sharon said: "It was like something from the film Taken and she and I have been having nightmares about what would have happened if they'd got her.
"She could have ended up in an empty flat, gang-raped or used for sex trafficking - if she even survived at all.
"She might have just been found murdered and dumped in a ditch. You just don't know. It's terrifying. You just want to be able to protect your children."
She added: "We asked police about CCTV, but it was nearer the Pizza Hut end and apparently the wrong angle or out of vision of the cameras."
Sharon said the girls then saw the same three men getting into the same van the next day.
They spotted them at around 1pm outside Kwik Fit, in Westgate Road, just down the road from the dance school.
"She could have ended up in an empty flat, gang-raped or used for sex trafficking - if she even survived at all. She might have just been found murdered and dumped in a ditch. You just don't know. It's terrifying..." - Mother Sharon
She added: "My daughter wants to be a dancer and her school has been fantastic and taken it really seriously, but she's terrified about going in or being in the area.
"The two girls look very different, her friend is very fair while my daughter is quite dark. So I don't know what, if anything, these men are looking for."
The men were described as being of Bulgarian or Romania nationality and in their late 30s or early 40s. Two were said to be tall and the other short.
Sharon added: "It's not a race or nationality issue, I'm actually Jewish and my husband is Irish, and you only have to look at Jimmy Savile to know it's not just foreign people doing these things.
"But people need to know what these men look like to be aware and protect themselves and their families."
The incident was one of four reports in recent days of girls aged 12 to 18 being approached by men in a vehicle in Dartford.
On Friday, bosses at Reynolds Training Academy warned of the "serious and very real threat" posed by the men.
A letter from the academy, in Kent Road, warned parents and students to be extra vigilant.
It said: "Given this serious and very real threat we would ask that you do not allow any of your children - no matter what age - to travel to or from the studio on their own or even in small groups without an adult."
The college insisted all students were brought to the door and collected by a parent or guardian.
Kent Police revealed the force has stepped up patrols in the wake of the reports, but warned girls not to panic.
A spokesman said: "While we would ask people to remain vigilant, we would urge people not to panic as these incidents are very rare.
"There are basic safety steps we would encourage all residents to follow."
Anything suspicious should be reported to police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency or life is in danger.
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