'I hope the police catch him': Dad's anger after sickening assault on disabled seven-year-old daughter
A dad has spoken of his anger after his disabled seven-year-old daughter was assaulted by a "thug" who then shouted abusive language towards her.
Alan Dale, 34, said he was walking home from the Eye Infirmary on Queen Alexandra Road, Sunderland, with his daughter Skye Preston- who has Down's syndrome- when a man came from behind and knocked her to the ground.
"We were coming back from my daughter's appointment at the Eye Infirmary about 11.15am on Friday when some lad came up from behind and pushed her to the ground," he said.
"I was holding her hand at the time, but he just came up, grabbed her, and threw her into the road and shouted at her.
"She fell down on her front and banged her hands and face.
"She was quite shaken up from it, but because of her disability I don't think she realised what she was going on.
"It was just the shock of her falling over."
Mr Dale who lives with his partner Cordelia Preston, 47, in Bearpark, Durham, said he is a full-time carer for Skye.
He continued: "After she fell I picked her up as quick as I could and checked her over.
"She kept saying 'ow' because one of her hands hurt and her knees were scraped, but she could walk normally and move her fingers.
"One I realised she was OK, I shouted after the man and walked down the road to see if I could see him, and then I phoned the police.
"They came and met us outside the Alexandra Pub within five to 10 minutes and took us to the station.
"It's a horrible thing to have happened to her and I just hope the police catch him so we can have justice."
The offender is described by police as a male aged in his early 20s, and he was wearing a grey Nike hooded top with a large Nike logo on the front, grey tracksuit bottoms, black trainers with a gold Nike logo on and a black baseball cap.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Neil Hudspeth said: "We simply won't tolerate attacks like this happening in our community.
"An innocent seven-year-old has been walking with her father when for no reason she has been pushed to the ground by someone who can only be described as a thug.
"We are doing all we can to find the person responsible and would urge anyone who has any information to please come forward and speak to us."
Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 371 091216, or Crimestopppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.