West Sussex mum speaks out after daughter, 9, involved in gun terror

A West Sussex mum says her nine-year-old daughter is scared to leave the house after a terrifying gun incident.

Michelle Hutchinson, from Horsham, said she was walking home from the park with her daughter, who she asked the County Times not to name to protect her privacy, when she spotted a woman acting ‘a bit strange’.

She said: “I was a bit concerned. As we got nearer to her she’s still just standing there.

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“My daughter’s hand just started shaking. When I turned her around she was white as anything.

Sussex Police

“She was going ‘gun mummy, gun’. She was literally trembling.”

Michelle, who said she did not see the weapon, added: “That woman has set out to distress my daughter.”

The woman was reported to be next to the underpass in North Street at around 6.35pm on Friday, January 3, according to Sussex Police.

A spokesman said officers searched the area, but no trace of the suspect or gun were found.

But Michelle, who lives in the New Street area, said her daughter has been left traumatised by the incident.

She said the ordeal had tipped her daughter ‘over the edge’ after the tragic death of her dad just five months ago.

Michelle added: “It’s scared the lights out of her. It’s really terrified her.

“She’s scared of her own shadow. She’s already fragile - this has just finished her off.”

Michelle said her daughter, who has been offered victim counselling by police, now gets ‘panicky’ about walking out of school and refuses to walk near the subway.

She added: “We have to drive everywhere now. It’s just frightened the life out of her.”

Michelle called for security cameras to be installed across the park.

She said: “[My daughter] knows that there’s no CCTV protecting people. She doesn’t feel very safe.

“Is it going to take somebody to be killed before they take some action. There should be CCTV - people need to feel safe.”

A Horsham District Council spokeswoman said: “Horsham District Council owns 37 CCTV cameras in Horsham Town - 13 of which are around the perimeter of Horsham Park. All cameras are monitored by Sussex Police from their CCTV control centre in Lewes. Unfortunately we cannot cover all areas of the park. However, our Neighbourhood Wardens patrol the area regularly. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police on 101 or 999, if an emergency.”

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