Runner in Merthyr says she was ‘verbally abused’ by group of teens who hurled insults at her


A woman on a run said she was left “scared” after a group of youths were reportedly verbally threatening and abusive towards her.

Julie Evans, 43, from Merthyr Tydfil had been running along the Taff Trail at around 5pm on Thursday, August 19 near the Trefachan turn off when the incident happened.

She claimed three boys aged around 14 to 16 years old followed her for around 10 minutes as they hurled xenophobic slurs and insults at her, leaving her worried for her safety.

South Wales Police is now appealing for a second woman abused to come forward who might be able to help their investigation.

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Julie said: “I was just running up the Taff Trail as I do and as I got into the woodland area a group of three boys aged between 14 to 16 were walking towards me and jumped in front of my face.

“They asked me if I’m Polish and said they hate the Polish. I carried on running and next thing, they started verbally shouting to me that I am a ‘fat c***’ and all that nonsense.”

Though Julie is not Polish, she said it was horrible to hear the xenophobic language. She said she was worried she would have nowhere safe to go if the situation escalated.

“I felt scared and closed off from everything,” she said. “I felt like I had nowhere to go if they did pull a weapon out or attacked me. They were only kids, but you just don’t know. Next time I go out running I will be quite nervous. I won’t be going down there again.”

She said while the incident was ongoing, she managed to catch up to a man and a woman. The man said the youths had not abused him, but the woman had received similar abuse, according to Julie.

She said: “I carried on and there was a gentleman further up and I ran up to him so I felt a bit safer and he told me they hadn’t said anything to him. Then, there was another lady walking towards me so I told her to be careful and she said she’d already been abused.

“I went on a bit further and then said I would need to turn back because my 15-year-old daughter was walking with the dog as well. I thought she’d go to pieces if they said anything to her. The lady and the gentleman walked back down with me and said he didn’t want me to walk back past them on my own.”

Julie said she felt very angry about how she and the second woman, whose name is unknown, had been treated. As they walked back past the boys with the man, Julie claimed the youths did not say anything to them at first. However, when they decided to confront the youths about their behaviour, she said the abusive language started again.

During this, Julie said the second woman started recording the incident on her phone. South Wales Police is now trying to trace her so they can view the footage.

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: “We are keen to speak to a woman who may have filmed an incident on the Taff Trail near Cefn Coed, Merthyr.

“At around 5pm on Thursday, August 19, a 43-year-old woman was running on the Taff Trail when she was approached by three male youths. The group were verbally abusive and threatening towards the woman and others.

“It’s understood that another woman was present and has filmed the incident. We would like to hear from her as officers believe she has information which could assist the investigation team.

“If you were the person who filmed the incident, or has information on who that may be, please get in touch by one of the following means quoting reference number 292272”

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