seven-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome was left bruised and shaken after being attacked by a stranger in Sunderland last Friday.
Skye Preston and her father Alan Dale had just left Sunderland’s Eye Infirmary when the incident took place.
Mr Dale, 34, told reporters that he and Skye were walking along when the man approached them: “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.
The culprit, a man in his early twenties, was wearing a grey Nike hooded top. grey tracksuit bottoms, black trainers and a black baseball cap. Mr Dale said that strangers often stare at his daughter, but she had never been attacked before.
“If I wasn’t making sure Skye was okay I would have ran after him,” he added.
“I am not a violent person but it’s instinct to protect your children. She wasn’t badly injured, it could have been worse.
“But it’s not nice having something like that happen. Hopefully the police will find the person who did it.”
Sergeant Neil Hudspeth of Northumbria Police 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.’