Mum-to-be Bea Raggett attacked as sick daughter had fit at Ashford Christmas lights switch-on
and partner Daniel Jessop with daughter Jenna
by Tim Collins
A pregnant woman whose daughter suffered an epileptic fit
during a Christmas lights switch-on faced a barrage of verbal and
physical abuse as she tried to lead her to safety.
Bea Raggett, 23, says she was kicked in the stomach as she
attempted to flee a crush with four-year-old Jenna at the
She and partner Dan Jessop, 26, attended along with Jenna
and two friends who also brought their children.
The couple, from South Ashford, said the atmosphere turned
sour when Jenna, who suffers from epilepsy, began to
experience the effects of the condition.
"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 Raggett
The family tried to leave the area where they had been standing
in the hope of finding somewhere to administer Jenna's medication
Bea, who is 13 weeks pregnant, said: "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.
"We were so worried if someone knocked the baby but we just
wanted to get Jenna out of there.
"One woman even started getting aggressive with me, telling me
she had her kids there too and she decided to knee me in the
She added: "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.
"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."
A packed crowd waits for
the Ashford Christmas lights ceremony to start
PC Stephen Noddings, from Kent Police, said: "The
'policing' of such events is the responsibility of the event
organiser by providing marshals and stewards where required.
"Town centre constables were on duty as usual for a Saturday
evening but not as part of a pre-planned security operation for the
"This year's event appears to have attracted a much larger crowd
than anticipated and much larger than in previous years.
"One call was received by the force control room about the size
of the crowd but no specific incidents were reported to
Cllr Graham Galpin, Ashford Borough Council's lead member for
economic development, said: "I am aware of a small number of
incidents that were raised by members of the public in relation to
"We had the police in attendance and 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.
"We regret that people experienced anti-social behaviour and 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
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