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Quiz in park blamed on Soham 'hysteria'

A MOTHER whose relative was questioned publicly by police after being seen with her six-year-old son at a children's play area has blamed "Holly and Jessica hysteria".

The interrogation came after a member of the public reported a man acting suspiciously as he watched the boy play on the swings off the Esplanade in Rochester.

The man, who does not wish to be named, convinced police he was not doing anything improper but said he felt "publicly humilated and upset" by the incident last Tuesday lunchtime.

Deborah Donnelly-Brown, a 33-year-old marketing manager, of Florin Drive, Rochester, said the relative, who is in his sixties, dotes on her son George and often takes him on trips.

She said: "It was an innocent outing. When they arrived back, he was agitated and nervous and since has become withdrawn and depressed.

"They made him feel like a dirty old man. He is now reluctant to be seen in public with my son."

Mrs Donnelly-Brown said: "I have to say the Soham murders have made the public over-react to situations like this. One would question if a younger person had accompanied my son whether suspicions would have been aroused.

"It would seem that Holly and Jessica hysteria has got out of hand. Effectively he has been labelled a paeodophile when in fact he is a thoroughly respectable retired gentleman."

A police spokesman said according to their records police were in attendance for eight minutes. Insp Jane Newall, of Medway Police, said: "Officers responded to a call regarding a male believed to have been acting suspiciously near a children's play area. "On arrival the officers conducted inquiries and confirmed that there was no cause for concern."

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