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Neighbours talk of girl allegedly held prisoner in Tenterden home for 10 years

A neighbour of the girl alleged to have been imprisoned by her parents for 10 years has spoken of the harrowing moment she was taken into care.

The man, who we are not naming, said he was woken in the early hours by the cries of the 19-year-old as she was taken away from her home in Tenterden to a waiting ambulance and said the sound was "like foxes screaming".

A child was alleged to have been kept prisioner in Tenterden (16076449)
A child was alleged to have been kept prisioner in Tenterden (16076449)

Speaking outside his home in the ordinary suburban street, he gestured to the house that had been at the centre of the drama.

The neighbour, in his 30s, first moved into the street around 20 years ago and remembers the girl as a primary school pupil.

He said: "I saw the kid grow up for a bit until she was around six or seven and then she just disappeared.

"She looked normal and spoke like a normal child."

Some newspaper reports have suggested that the youngster had special needs.

"The family are different but we are not all neat little bricks that fit perfectly into a brick wall..."

The neighbour said that before the point of the girl's 'disappearance', the family of three were regularly seen in the street but when the child was taken out of primary school, the mother and daughter remained behind closed doors.

Other neighbours were on first name terms with the girl's dad, who was regularly seen in the street.

Another resident said:"I think the child was bullied at school and the parents took her out of school because they wanted to protect her."

She added: "The family are different but we are not all neat little bricks that fit perfectly into a brick wall."

The man who spoke to KentOnline said that he was concerned the girl was never seen outside the house and said: "We reported the girl to social services five or six times and our other neighbour made so many complaints to them that she kept a log of it.

The family live in Tenterden
The family live in Tenterden

He added: "I even mentioned the girl's situation to my GP."

It is not known what triggered the emergency response when the ambulance took the 19-year-old away, which was followed by a heavy police presence in the street over an entire weekend.

The girls' parents were arrested and later bailed by police who issued a statement saying: "We were called at 2.34pm on Thursday, August 22 with reports of concern for the welfare of a 19-year-old individual at an address in Tenterden.

“Officers attended and two people from Tenterden were arrested on suspicion of neglect and later released on bail."

Kent County Council says it is now working with "partner agencies to carry out a safeguarding investigation".

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here.

Read more:All the latest news from Tenterden


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