MISSING schoolgirl Kerrie White has telephoned her mum to say she is safe and well.
The 15-year-old, who has been missing for a week today, told mum Madge Gill she was in London, but wasn’t coming home yet.
The Shelley College pupil first contacted a friend’s daughter via the internet and then rang her mum’s mobile.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted. I’ve heard her voice and I know she’s OK, said Madge, who lives in Kirkheaton with Kerrie’s dad Anthony White and Kerrie’s 17-year-old brother Aiden.
“She said she was safe and in London and she sounded calm, but she said she wasn’t coming home yet. I asked her where she was and said I’d come and collect her. I told her to go to a train station or tell the police where she was, but she said she’d ring again soon.”
Yesterday Madge revealed that Kerrie had become obsessed with chatting to people on the social website MSN and there had been concerns that she was chatting to older men in Birmingham and London.
When she left Huddersfield last Wednesday, detectives believe she travelled to Leeds and then on to London with a man who she had met on the internet.
Madge said Kerrie had been using the family computer for the last two years to chat with strangers and then began talking to them over the phone. Men were ringing the house in the early hours of the morning.
She also revealed she had asked for help from social workers two years ago when problems with Kerrie had started, but there had been no help.
She also said the family had spoken to her about the dangers of the internet and chatting with strangers.
Concerns about young people chatting with older people on the internet and possible “grooming” has led to the establishment of specific agencies aimed at addressing this global problem.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is part of the UK police and is dedicated to protecting children from sexual abuse wherever they may be.
It has a dedicated website at www.ceop.gov.uk which offers help and support for parents, teachers and children of all age groups about internet access and safety and also provides questions and quizzes for people to find out how clued up they are to internet safety.
Madge praised police for their dedication and hard work in trying to trace Kerrie, particularly missing person’s coordinator Pc Karen Truelove.
Anyone who has any further information about Kerrie’s whereabouts can contact 0845 6060606.