Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Today I observed slightly odd behaviour from a man in the playground...

(23 Posts)
MrsMerryHenry Sat 12-Sep-09 20:31:39's really such a small observation but struck me as odd.

He was standing next to a place where my DS and some older kids were playing, watching the older kids very closely. He stayed there for a few minutes, then moved to a different area of the playground and did the same thing. Then a few minutes later he did the same thing again. He didn't appear to be accompanying any children as he didn't interact at all. Of course I could be wrong - although no children went with him each time he moved, it is of course possible that he had kids in each of those different areas and was keeping an eye on them all.

Anyway, putting it in writing it feels like a non-story but it just made me feel a wee bit uncomfortable at the time. As ever, when you notice something that you think is a bit dodgy, you then interpret everything about that person within that prism - so I would say that he did look a bit shifty, but then maybe my mind was just prejudicing himself against him.

That's all. No need to reply, just wanted to get it off my chest.

MrsMerryHenry Sat 12-Sep-09 20:32:25

Ahem. 'maybe my mind was just prejudicing me against him'.

nannynick Sat 12-Sep-09 20:41:37

Out of interest, if it were a women instead, would you have had the same thoughts?

It is possible he was supervising older children in both areas, who wouldn't naturally move between areas just because he did.

MrsMerryHenry Sat 12-Sep-09 20:42:32

Nannynick - yes, I would.

And I've already said your second bit.

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 12-Sep-09 20:43:48

phew glad it wasn't a woman, and that I wasn't out with the kids today as that would have been me..........stand back and observe closely grin blush

totallynormalblokeinthepark Sat 12-Sep-09 20:51:01


nannynick Sat 12-Sep-09 21:05:36

Good to know you would have thought the same if it were a woman - we should be on the lookout for anyone who looks out of place.

Love the other thread totallynormalblokeinthepark grin

zebramummy Sat 12-Sep-09 21:15:55

well actually i do understand what OP is getting at. when ds was 3 we were shopping at a large US style warehouse wholesalers. ds wandered off and dh and I were looking around for him. i spotted him at the other end of the shop next to a bloke who seemed quite strange (withdrawn, bespectacled, greying def NOT insane). he was muttering something to ds without actually looking towards him or making eye contact (there was nobody else immediately around them). ds was listening to him and obviously interacting in some way. when i approached ds, the man stopped talking to ds but never even lifted his eyes or acknowledged my presence other than stopping the mumbling.

MrsMerryHenry Sat 12-Sep-09 23:15:46

alwayslooking - you're dodgy enough already just from your posts. If I'd been in your park you'd be handcuffed already.


<<closes net curtains>>

alwayslookingforanswers Sat 12-Sep-09 23:30:35


nevergoogledragonbutter Sun 13-Sep-09 12:02:43

did his breath smell?

BerylCole Sun 13-Sep-09 12:06:15

Arent about 99% of predatory paedophiles men, though? I probably would be slightly more suspicious of a man doing this than a woman. If i was suspicious at all.

Just being honest.

nannynick Sun 13-Sep-09 12:47:34

Maybe BerylCole, but women also abuse children and they may not get caught very often (as victims may be less inclined to report abuse by a female). Michele Elliott wrote a good book about the subject - Female Sexual Abuse of Children. You can read some of it on the Kidscape website - Female sexual abuse of children: ?the ultimate taboo? (PDF)
In a 1981 report (Mrazek PM, Lynch M, Bentovim A. Recognition of child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom) 98% of reported abusers were male - so even back then 2% were female.
1984 research - "Estimates are
that 5% of abuse of girls and 20% of abuse of boys is perpetrated by women" (Finkelhor D, Russell D. Women as perpetrators)

Not that I don't agree with you... I'd be more suspicious of a man as well.

cory Sun 13-Sep-09 12:48:35

I think we need to get away from this idea that the paedophile is going to be the dogdy looking man who stands around muttering- that is far more likely to be someone with learning difficulties or a slight mental health problem

your paedophile is far likely to be a normal-looking, well-spoken, charming person, who impresses everybody with his respectability. That's how they get close to other people's children.

nannynick Sun 13-Sep-09 13:00:17

Agree with you Cory... though it could "her" respectability as well (the nursery nurse in the Plymouth case is female).

Abuse by a random stranger is rare... it is more likely to be someone well known to the child, someone in the family/extended family.

plonker Sun 13-Sep-09 13:12:02

I know what you mean.

During the summer I took my dd's (9, 6 and 2) to a park which had a splash zone (outdoor splash park) in it. It was an impromptu visit so we didn't have costumes, older dd stayed in shorts and t-shirt (her choice) and younger dd's just had knickers on.

The children had a ball and loved every minute of it. I, however, was extremely aware of a guy sat on a bench watching the children play. He never made a move to interact with any children, and all the children came and went whilst we were there with their parents and this guy never moved.

Of course there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for him being there. Maybe he was an employee, maybe he was waiting for someone, maybe ...

That knowledge didn't help me to shrug off a feeling that something wasn't right. I ended up taking to dd's off to another part of the park. Probably totally unreasonable of me, but I couldn't shake off the uneasiness.

Sad though, isn't it?

cloudedyellow Sun 13-Sep-09 18:23:37

It's a hard one isn't it? I can imagine myself sitting on a bench watching children play, plonker. I really enjoy and am interested in children.

Does that make me a bit dodgy? I am a woman, so maybe I can get away with it more easily. You might not have thought anything about me.

I'm not suggesting your instinct was wrong and it's important to be careful, but...

A single male friend of mine told me last week he was thinking of getting a dog because he had heard that a man on his own, out for a walk, might be viewed as a pervert.

No easy answers. It is sad.

plonker Sun 13-Sep-09 20:32:57

Your friends comment is quite gutting really - the world is a crazy place.

Sorry but I can't honestly answer whether I would have felt as uneasy with a woman sat on the bench, as it wasn't a woman who was sat on the bench. You're very right though - maybe I wouldn't have noticed.

I make no bones about the probability of me being unreasonable about the guy. As I said, there was most likely a very good explanation for him being there. I just was uneasy. Yes. Very sad.

NormaSnorks Sun 13-Sep-09 20:51:55

Very difficult. On one hand we are told to trust our instincts, and report anything suspicious (not that I think there WAS anything sufficiently 'suspicious' to report here..)

On the other hand, 99% of people are safe etc, and it's a sad world when we have to tell kids not to trust anyone.

FWIW, there was a 'suspicious' old man standing watching the kids in our local park the other day. He was standing leaning on the wall. He had his hand in his pocket, and there was some strange shaking behaviour going on at the front of his trousers. He had a kind of weird, blank, staring expression.....

Quite a few parents gave him a bit of a funny look.

Did anyone report him? I hope not, because he is my father, and he was watching his grandchildren. He has Parkinsons... (blank face, hand tremor) and he keeps his hand in his pocket to a) hide his tremor, and b) keep his wallet safe....

Two years ago, before I knew anything about Parkinson's, I would probably have thought he was a weirdo/pervert.


Difficult, isn't it??

Claire2009 Sun 13-Sep-09 20:55:37

In town a few months ago, DC's were playing on the wooden horses, climbing/play area. They'd just seen their Dad at contact centre & he'd walked down through town with us, the kids played and I played with them. But he just stood watching, unsure what to do.

A neighbour stopped and quietly said to me "He looks a bit strange, he's staring at you're kids".

When I told her that was my Dc's dad she was mortified.

MrsMerryHenry Mon 14-Sep-09 18:04:42

Not like yours, dragon, not like yours.

nevergoogledragonbutter Mon 14-Sep-09 18:56:12


MrsMerryHenry Mon 14-Sep-09 21:44:45

grin at dragon. You're a good sport, mate, a good sport. <<stuck in repeating last three words mode...reset

Good lord, Beryl Cole, I just misread your post as 'aren't 99% of men predatory paedophiles?'


Norma, your story really gives pause.

On the male vs female issue I have an idle thought: Obviously we all know most abuse is done by people known to the victims but I wonder whether female abusers are less likely to prey on children they don't know - it's that risk-taking/ testosterone thing that makes me wonder.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now