A BRAVE 12-year-old has told of the terrifying moment she fought off an attacker while walking to school.

The youngster was walking along Sackville Road, Southchurch, about 6.50am on Tuesday to meet a friend before getting a bus.

When she got to Glenmore Street, at the corner of Beaufort Street, a man came up behind her and tried to grab her school bag.

She said: “I kicked him and he scratched my face and I just kicked him again. He ran off somewhere.

“I was really shaking, scared – and I still am scared. I hadn’t really had any lessons on what to do in that situation – it was all instinct. It was over in a couple of minutes.”

Her shocked mother, 34, said: “I was horrified. You just don’t expect it to happen and not in this area either.

“I think, in future, if anything did happen, she should let go of her bag. But I don’t think anyone would know what they would do in that situation until it happened.”

The family are struggling to understand any motive behind the incident.

The mother added: “It’s just a normal canvas blue bag – it wasn’t like she had a phone on display or anything.

“She is quite a shy girl and I was worried this would knock her confidence, but she’s been very brave and she’s still going to school, but I’m now taking her there and bringing her home.”

The girl added: “I didn’t really see him all that well.

“I remember he had grey jogging bottoms on and a black hoodie.

I couldn’t make out much. He was white – that was it.”

It is believed the attacker was in his mid-20s. The girl was left with scratches on her face after the incident.

Anybody with any information is asked to contact PC Alana Ford at Southend CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.