Family mourning stillborn baby attacked in Colchester

 The family had gone to High Woods Country Park for a private balloon-releasing ceremony The family had gone to High Woods Country Park for a private balloon-releasing ceremony

A family mourning a stillborn baby have been set upon by a gang in a park in Essex.

They were trying to release some balloons in the baby girl's memory at High Woods Country Park in Colchester when they were attacked, police said.

The father was kicked and punched to the ground, his three children were assaulted and a family friend sustained two broken fingers.

Police said the "sacred" balloons were also burst in the attack, on 23 July.

Two men, two women and two teenagers from Colchester were arrested on suspicion of assault and released on police bail until 19 September.

'Traumatic, emotional'

Det Con Yusseff Rahmani-Manesh, of Essex Police, said: "This was an appalling incident.

"They attended the Country Park during the early evening in order to hold their own private ceremony, where they intended to release balloons in their daughter's memory.

"This traumatic, emotional and private act was destroyed by a group who took it upon themselves to target a grieving family and deliberately burst the sacred balloons before then going on to assault the family.

"The father was repeatedly kicked and punched to the ground, and a family friend - a woman in her 40s - was also punched to the face and received two broken fingers.

"The father's three children aged between 11 and 17 were also assaulted and received minor injuries."

Police are urging witnesses to the attack to contact them.

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