Walk home changed her life

WALKING alone at night was a risk she never normally took – and one that Michelle will never take again.For that gamble had a price to pay for Michelle, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, as she was indecently assaulted.

By Georgina James

WALKING alone at night was a risk she never normally took – and one that Michelle will never take again.

For that gamble had a price to pay for Michelle, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, as she was indecently assaulted.

Although harrowing enough, Michelle believes that what happened to her that night could have been a lot more devastating – rape.

On Thursday October 10, Michelle was subjected to a brutal and crude attack. Her mouth was smothered, she was pinned to the ground and endured an agonising ordeal which although lasted little more than a minute, felt like a lifetime.

Her cowardly attacker put his hand down her trousers and then down her top before attempting to pull her trousers off.

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"I was pinned to the ground by his knee and he was trying to pull my trousers down. A car then passed us and he got disturbed and ran-off. If it hadn't been for that car I know things would have been a lot worse for me," said Michelle.

Despite her traumatic ordeal the 17-year-old is determined to bury the past and look to the future.

The night began like any other teenager's night out with friends, a chat and a drink, but the ending was not.

Michelle did not have enough money for a taxi so she decided to walk. Her friend offered to walk her home but she refused and said she would be ok.

She made her way home and headed up Bishops Hill and along Nacton Road.

"It's quite strange really as I purposely walked on the side of the road where the houses were and not the dark side next to the park wall," said Michelle.

She then remembers hearing a noise which gave her a creepy feeling inside. A man then bumped into her and dragged her into garages surrounded by bushes.

"I let out a high pitched scream but he then put his hand over my mouth muffling my voice."

Michelle says her initial thought was that she was being mugged for her purse and mobile.

She soon realised that her situation was more serious when her attacker said to her 'If you stay quiet you won't get hurt'.

The attack has left Michelle feeling nervous at night and she and her friends always catch a taxi after dark, even if it is short distance.

"My experience has changed the way my friends view their personal safety and none of us ever walk alone and we catch a lift everywhere after 6.30pm."

Michelle decided to speak out after her assault as she believes that other people can learn a valuable lesson from what happened to her and hopefully prevent other girls from having to suffer the violation that she did.

Michelle's mother said: "She is a very strong character and is trying to brush the ordeal off. She hates being fussed and she has been coping really well.

"We have always told Michelle not to walk home alone at night, but unfortunately on this isolated occasion she did."

Michelle's attacker is described as white, approximately 25-30 years old and was wearing dark clothing. The man is also believed to have a local accent.

Ipswich police would like to hear from anyone who was in the Nacton Road area at about 1.30am on Thursday October 10 to contact them immediately on 01473 613500.

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