Female councillor ‘punched in the face’ by man as she walked her dog
A Barnsley councillor was found by a member of the public after being “punched in the face” by a man as she walked her dog yesterday (November 19).
Councillor Pauline Markham, 68, who represents the Darfield Ward, was walking her dog at Broomhill Park off Pontefract Road at around 2.30pm, when she was approached by a man who asked if she was a councillor, before punching her in the face, knocking her to the floor.
Her ward colleague, councillor Kevin Osborne, said Councillor Markham was found by a passer by, and was taken to hospital.
"I'm angry about it because it's one of these things where I wish I could have helped," added Coun Osborne.
"People should be able to go about their business, in Darfield and beyond without fear of being attacked. It's completely unacceptable."
Councillor Markham is currently recovering from the ordeal.
Councillor Sir Steve Houghton CBE, leader of Barnsley Council, said: "The attack on Cllr Pauline Markham is awful and upsetting. We’re in contact with her and wish her a speedy recovery.
"Our councillors are Barnsley residents. Our family, friends and neighbours. This unprovoked, targeted attack on someone who local people elect to support the community is deplorable.
"Our councillors are a vital part of our country’s system of democracy. People don’t always agree with their decision or political beliefs, but in no way should that result in violence or intimidation of any kind.
"I’m very clear in saying that there is no place for hate in Barnsley. We’ll support South Yorkshire Police in their investigation and urge anyone with information to contact them."
South Yorkshire Police have appealled for anyone with information to come forward.
A spokesperson for the force said: "Officers were called by a member of the public at about 2.30pm yesterday (Thursday 18 November) to report an assault on a woman in Broomhill Park, Barnsley.
"The woman, aged in her 60s, was approached by a man and reportedly struck to the face, before he left in the direction of the Old Moor Tavern. The woman then fell and hurt her head as she did so.
"The woman received treatment from a Yorkshire Ambulance Service crew and was transported to hospital."
Acting Inspector Kevin Jenkins, from South Yorkshire Police’s Hoyland Neighbourhood Policing Team who are overseeing the investigation, said: “This is an awful incident which has left a woman needing hospital treatment and will not be tolerated."
Officers are now seeking to identify the man involved. He is described as white, about 5ft7in tall, of medium build and aged in his early 40s. He spoke with a local accent and was wearing a black hoody and jeans. He had a brown Staffordshire bull terrier with him.
If anyone was in the area at the time and saw or heard anything suspicious, or has CCTV footage which may have captured the incident occurring or where the offender left in the direction of, they are asked to call 101, quoting incident 432 of 18 November.
A/Insp. Jenkins added: “We are now acting quickly to try and find the man involved. If you have any information which can help the investigation, no matter how insignificant you think it may be, please get in contact and help us to find him.”