Calls for CCTV, lighting and wardens in 'unsafe' Doncaster park after attempted rape
Calls have been made to install CCTV, improved lighting and security patrols in an ‘unsafe’ Doncaster park after the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl in broad daylight.
Elmfield Park is at the centre of yet another police probe after the teenage girl was grabbed from behind and pushed to the ground on Wednesday morning. She managed to fight off her 28-year-old attacker and a man is now in custody after being arrested on suspicion of attempted rape.
It is the latest in a series of attacks, robberies and sex assaults in the park which stretches between Bennetthorpe and Hyde Park.
And Free Press readers have called for a number of security measures to be introduced in the park which some have dubbed a ‘no-go area.’
In recent years, the park has been attempting to shake off its unwanted tag as a crime hot spot with cash for improvements. But the latest incident comes as another blow to turn around the park’s fortunes.
The most shocking incident was the killing of youngster Casey Kearney who was randomly attacked and stabbed to death as she walked through the park in 2012.
The 13-year-old was targeted by Hannah Bonser, 26, who had a history of mental health problems, as she strolled through Elmfield Park on Valentine’s Day of that year. She was jailed for life for the attack.
In May 2018, a 16-year-old boy fled into Elmfield Park after he was raped by a man nearby.
In August of the same year, a teenage boy was attacked and robbed of his bike by two other teenagers in the park, while in 2019, the body of a woman was found in a flat close to the park on Carr House Road and a murder investigation was launched.
Also in 2019, police launched a hunt for a missing Albanian mother and daughter who had last been spotted in the playground at the park while in the same year, officers revealed they were probing a number of robberies on teenagers in Elmfield Park.
Free Press readers have told of their own experiences of attacks and threats in the park amid calls for beefed up security measures.
Georgina Ormston said: “This is such a bad park, I and my boyfriend at the time was attacked by a group of girls about 11 years ago. Hate the place.”
Mary Lance wrote: “We used to love to walk through the beautifully maintained park to reach Chequer Road but after meeting several people who had been mugged we reluctantly took another route.”
Alexis Amy said: “It's not safe - it needs lighting and CCTV and police to patrol it to deter all the gangs of teenagers intimidating kids – not a new rose garden and tennis court that hardly anyone uses.”
Mandy Murray said: “More cameras about would be a good start but I think the damage is already done now.”
Michael Tissington called for ‘CCTV, better lighting, maybe panic buttons’ while Antony Craig said: “This park should have park keepers walking around and night time, lock the gates up.”
Sabrina Moore added: “It’s a horrible park seen all sorts – druggy needles etc,” while Nikita Stone said: “Absolutely disgusting! More needs to be done – definitely CCTV.”
Chalky White posted: “CCTV needs to be all over that park – only a few years ago was a murder there and another rape – Doncaster’s getting bad.”
Ian Chapman said: “CCTV has to be monitored. So instead of someone watching a monitor why not have a park keeper and lock the gates at night time.
"If Doncaster Council can't afford to pay someone to do the job, I bet they could find a retired volunteer or two who would love to do the job.”
However, some defended the park.
Helen Adams wrote: “I’ve lived facing the park for 12 years, we walk on the park almost daily, my child plays on the park weekly. Other than some anti social behaviour in the evenings the park is no different to any inner town or inner city park anywhere in the country.”
We have contacted Doncaster Council for comment.