Friday 30 September 2016

Penny Lancaster breaks down as she reveals fighting off schoolgirl sex assault

Penny Lancaster broke down in tears as she spoke about being attacked under a bridge as a 12-year-old

Hannah Furness

Published 12/11/2015 | 07:27

Penny Lancaster cries during recording of Loose Women
Penny Lancaster cries during recording of Loose Women
Penny Lancaster is comforted by Coleen Nolan and Sherrie Hewson
Penny and husband Rod Stewart

Penny Lancaster has broken down in tears as she revealed she was attacked while on her way to school at the age of 12.

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Lancaster, 44, who is married to singer Rod Stewart, fought back tears as she detailed how she had been accosted by a man under a bridge who had lifted up her skirt.

Penny Lancaster is comforted by Coleen Nolan and Sherrie Hewson
Penny Lancaster is comforted by Coleen Nolan and Sherrie Hewson

 ''I had a very unfortunate incident,'' she said, trying to talk through tears during an appearance on Loose Women, and adding, ''sorry''.

''It was, um, a journey into school and I was attacked. It was nothing about the way I looked, I could have been in a short skirt or had thick tights on it wouldn't have mattered.''

Penny and husband Rod Stewart
Penny and husband Rod Stewart

She encouraged parents to make sure their children always travelled to school in groups.

 ''I normally would travel to school with a group of children, which is if you want to put a message out there for children to be safe, it's about ... travelling in groups, safety in numbers, whether you're sending a child to the toilets make sure they go with someone else,'' she said.

She explained on the morning of her attack that she'd been going into school later due to having choir practice the day before.

She said; ''I was attacked under a subway. I managed to, being tall, and strong, I managed to fight off the man who had pulled my skirt up and wrestled with me ...

"It was a few weeks later, I was in an undercover police car outside what they thought was the man who attacked me.

''I was the oldest, at the age of 12, who had given the same description of this man and unfortunately it wasn't him, but there are a lot of evil men out there that will prey on young girls so it doesn't matter what they wear, so they shouldn't be to blame about whether they're being encouraged or not.''

 The Loose Women panel were discussing the fact that a school in Hartlepool is asking parents to ensure their daughters wear black tights of at least 40 denier thickness to school, to protect their modesty and safety.

A former model and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Lancaster said she agrees with the idea of women only carriages on tubes.

She said: ''I also agree with one of the MPs that mentioned about having female carriages only, on the tubes, me and a lot of women and friends I know have had incidences on the train and it's prevented them for wanting to travel again.

''It's very intimidating when you're in close proximity to a man or someone that wants to rub up a bit closer to you, so I think if there was a carriage, women could feel safe, then a lot more women would be encouraged to travel.''

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