A man has been arrested over a sex attack on an 11-year-old girl in Enfield, north London.
The 26-year-old, who was held in nearby Edmonton, is being questioned over the attack which took place on Friday as the girl was walking home from school.
She had caught a 192 bus in Enfield at around 4.30pm, and got off in Bury Street at around 5pm.
She was grabbed as she walked along Galliard Road and submitted to a sex attack for a “considerable time - possibly in the region of two to three hours”.
The girl, who police described as petite, finally returned home at around 8pm and was taken to hospital where she needed surgery.
Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses.
Detective Inspector Simon Ellershaw said: “This was a horrific and unusual attack of a defenceless schoolgirl making her way home via her usual route, along one of Enfield's busiest shortcuts, at the beginning of Friday afternoon rush-hour.
“I am appealing to motorists, pedestrians and anyone who may have been using the park between 4.45pm and 8pm, who may have seen a man following a girl in school uniform, to contact us.“
Enfield-Southgate MP David Burrowes said: “As a parent of an 11-year-old schoolgirl, my heart and prayers go out to the victim of this horrific attack.”
Edmonton MP Andy Love added: “I’m shocked and appalled by the incident. It’s unbelievable that a young girl has been dragged into a local park, assaulted, then released and forced to find her own way home.
Andreas Constantinides, councillor for Upper Edmonton ward in Enfield, added: “It was an horrific attack. I feel thoroughly disillusioned with the way society is going at the moment. That a young girl can no longer walk home from school safely is absolutely terrible.”
Detective Inspector Ellershaw said officers had carried out an ”extensive“ search of the park and members of the public had already come forward with helpful information.
He added: ”Given the significant and unaccounted amount of time between the incident and the victim's arrival home, we are particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have seen her possibly appearing confused or dishevelled following her ordeal.“