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Election candidate punched and sworn at on campaign trail speaks out

PUBLISHED: 19:04 25 April 2019

Mrs Hales, from Essex, said that the attacker insulted her for being a member of the Conservative Party. Picture: CARLA HALES

Mrs Hales, from Essex, said that the attacker insulted her for being a member of the Conservative Party. Picture: CARLA HALES

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A Colchester election candidate is speaking out after she was punched and sworn at in what her colleagues believe was a politically motivated assault.

Conservative council election candidate Carla Hales was reportedly assaulted in the Bourne Mill area of Colchester. Picture: CARLA HALESConservative council election candidate Carla Hales was reportedly assaulted in the Bourne Mill area of Colchester. Picture: CARLA HALES

Conservative Carla Hales was out canvassing when she felt three punches in her side – causing injuries which required x-rays on her ribs and back.

The 46-year-old is standing for the seat of New Town and Christchurch in the Colchester Borough Council elections on May 2.

The music teacher, who is now recovering, was on the campaign trial in Bourne Road when she was attacked on Wednesday afternoon.

“I've been a victim of verbal abuse when knocking on people's doors before,” she said.

“But I never would have expected anything like this.

“I was taking some pictures for social media in Bourne Mill – I didn't hear anyone coming up behind me, but then suddenly I felt three quick punches to my side.”

She said she was then sworn at and the perpetrator shouted an offensive comment about her political party.

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Despite going to hospital and having x-rays on her back and ribs – showing heavy bruising – Mrs Hales was back at work the next day.

“I needed to get away from it all,” she added. “I promised a school I would do some music lessons for the kids and I wasn't going to turn back on it.

“On Saturday I will be back out canvassing – my husband John has been fantastic support and I've received lots of messages from the public asking to join me.”

In a tweet, Colchester Conservative MP Will Quince said: “Absolutely disgusted to hear one of our local election candidates, Carla Hales, has been the victim of a politically motivated violent assault.

“My thoughts are with Carla who is one of the loveliest most genuine people I know. I hope Essex Police catch the perpetrator.”

Darius Laws, leader of Colchester's Conservatives and councillor for Castle Ward, linked the incident to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and added: “This is the ugly side of politics and it is an attack not just on a Conservative but an attack on democracy.

“It is an attack on everyone who seeks to put their name forward to stand up for their community, such violence and intimidation is utterly deplorable.

“I had hoped after the tragic murder of Jo Cox MP we might have learnt lessons about the way in which people with opposing viewpoints conduct themselves.”

An Essex Police spokesman confirmed they are investigating the incident and enquiries are ongoing.

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