In 1994 Diana Lamplugh gave a talk to pupils at Furtherwick Park School.
Katy Best wrote an accompanying article in the Echo published 30th May 1994. The transcript is below.
Survival tactics. Two hundred children pretended to be sick – all part of a talking lesson by Diana Lamplugh. Mrs Lamplugh was telling 14 and 15 year old at Furtherwick Park School Canvey about stranger danger. She told the youngsters to be physically sick if all else failed in trying to get rid of a pest or attacker. Mrs Lamplugh then got all 200 pupils to demonstrate in the school hall. But her main message was, in a terror situation, to get away as fast as possible and not to fight back. And she disputed the belief that most attacks were on women. Seven out of 10, she said ,were on men, and most people mugged were not little old ladies but men between 18 and 25.
Mrs Lamplugh formed the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a national charity for personal safety named after her estate agent daughter who disappeared on an appointment in 1986. Furtherwick pupils are studying personal safety as part of their personal and social education course and Mrs Lamplugh asked them to decide what they could use against a potential assailant. But then she explained how each ploy they thought of was too dangerous. Trying to poke someone’s eyes out with two fingers only works for trained SAS soldiers, and kicking puts you off balance. Keys were no good as weapons. One boy suggested clouting his assailant with the weighty national curriculum for maths he happened to be carrying. Mrs Lamplugh told how her personal safety tuition saved the life of her younger daughter Lizzie. She said: ‘Lizzie got out of her car one day in Oxford and a man had a knife at her throat. It was specially sharpened so it could kill at one blow and he had a number of other weapons on him. She remembered what I’d told and talked to him. She kept talking to get him into her car and give him the keys, She said she just had to take her washing into her house and she’d come back. She took the washing past her own house to where a neighbour was unloading his car. She told him she needed help immediately, went into his house and then collapsed.’ Through her quick thinking police caught the man who was now in a psychiatric hospital. Mrs Lamplugh said her trust filled a big need. She thought of it as Suzy’s legacy. She alleged the man believed to have murdered Suzy was in prison for another murder. He had hung around Suzy and her friends in their regular wine bar. She said: ‘Everybody thought he was part of the group there each day. They though he was working round the corner. Really he was going back to prison each day serving the end of his sentence for rape. He was let out three days before Suzy disappeared. She walked straight into the trap.’
The trusts advice if you feel attacked or frightened is
- Act straightaway if you feel uneasy.
- Walk tall, keep your head up and look confident.
- If you are going out of the office, leave written details of where you are going and when you expect to be back. Phone in if your plans change.
- Avoid dangerous short cuts. Walk facing traffic.
- When being interviewed for a job, check the firm carefully. Make sure someone knows where you have gone and when you expect to be back.
- Never accept a lift home from the interviewer.
- Talk yourself out of problems. Study relaxation and tension control to avoid escalating an aggressive situation.
- Never put a hand on someone who is angry.
- Do not walk into trouble to test your abilities. In any violent physical contact, everybody will be hurt.