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BBC Newscaster Attacked in Office

February 16, 1987

LONDON (AP) _ A woman newscaster for BBC television surprised three intruders Sunday night in an office at its west London broadcast center, and the men sprayed something in her face and grabbed her purse before fleeing, police said.

Ronald Neil, BBC television news editor, said he later saw Jan Leeming, 44, at Hammersmith Hospital and she was ″shocked and shaky.″

″Her eyes have been cleaned, but we don’t know what was sprayed in them,″ Neil said.

A spokesman at Scotland Yard, London’s police headquarters, said: ″Miss Leeming challenged three men she disturbed in an office on the seventh floor, and one took a cannister from his pocket and sprayed her in the face. We do not know what the substance was.″

No further details on the attack were immediately available.

The British Broadcasting Corp. replaced Miss Leeming on the evening newscast with a male reader. It said her purse was found later inside the television center, but it was not known if anything was stolen.

The BBC was expected to hold an inquiry into how the intruders got into the building at White City. The center has guards and security barriers, and visitors must show a pass.

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