A SCHOOLGIRL was left “distressed and badly shaken up” after she was attacked whilst doing her paper round in Harwich.

Skye Bearder, who is 14 years old, decided to take on the morning paper round this week, which is normally done by her sister.

But on Tuesday morning at around 7am, she was attacked by a man who has been described as 6ft tall, white, and wearing a black tracksuit and balaclava.

Jason Bearder, who is Skye’s stepfather, said she came home in tears and was banging on the door to tell him what had happened.

He said: “My stepdaughter was walking between Birch Avenue and Lime Avenue – somebody walked past her and then, all of a sudden, he hit her in the stomach and she fell to the ground.

“She went and finished her paper round and came home – she was shouting [for us] and banging on the bedroom door.

Read more:

• 'They pinned him to the ground' - Balaclava-wearing thugs steal schoolboy's bike

• In pictures: Youngsters get first look at new adventure park in north Essex

• 'We need funding to keep pace' - reaction as Colchester's population skyrockets

“I asked what was the matter and she said ‘I’ve been attacked on the alleyway.”

Mr Bearder and then immediately got up so he could try and find the attacker, but he couldn’t find anyone after his search.

“After she came in at 7.30am I got up straight away – I called my stepson and he got up straight away.”

Although Mr Bearder and his stepson couldn’t find anyone, a post on Facebook was shared hundreds of times and he was contacted by people who say they have seen an individual matching the description of wearing black tracksuits and a balaclava in Louvain Road.

Skye, who is a pupil at Harwich and Dovercourt High School, still wanted to go to school even though she was left scared and upset from the incident.

“She was quite distressed and quite badly shaken up,” he said.

“[But] we’ve made the school aware.”

Mr Bearder added he was sickened by the incident.

“It was completely unprovoked,” he said.

“He didn’t ask for anything, he didn’t say anything – it’s sick that someone could do that to a 14-year-old girl out of the blue.”