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22 April 2012, 11:05
A 13-year-old has been sexually assaulted by a man while out walking her dog in south-west Essex.
The attack happened in Purfleet between 4-8.30pm on Saturday, April 21 when the teenager was with her Jack Russell in woodland off Centurion Way.
A man then approached her and sexually assaulted her before running off.
Police had been originally contacted by the girl's parents shortly before 7:30pm on Saturday after she had not returned from the walk.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Simon Werrett, said: "We started a search and found the girl in a distressed state in bushes near to Purfleet Military and Heritage Centre at 8:30pm. She was conveyed by paramedics to Basildon University Hospital where specially trained police officers spoke to her."
The offender is described as white, aged approximately 30, is over 5ft 2ins tall and has chubby fingers. At the time, he was wearing a black hoodie.
The victim was questioned by police yesterday while CCTV was examined to see if the assault and the attacker have been captured on camera.
Officers are also keen to identify a man who was spotted near to the bird-watching sanctuary who is a potential witness. He is described as white and was wearing white shorts a grey jacket and grey-and-white hiking boots.
The dog returned home on its own at 8pm.
Anyone with information in connection with this sexual assault is urged to contact detectives at Brentwood's Sexual Offences Investigation Team on 101.