Teenager says attack changed her life

A TEEANGE girl who escaped from her attacker after he held a knife to her throat tonight described how her life has dramatically changed since the incident.

A TEEANGE girl who escaped from her attacker after he held a knife to her throat tonight described how her life has dramatically changed since the incident.

Holly (not her real name) from Colchester, Essex, said at one point she was even too scared to venture out into her own back garden.

The 18-year-old was walking to work along a footpath on December 10 last year when she was grabbed by the man.

Two months on, the shop assistant at a town centre store says she now has to take sleeping tablets, and suffers from nightmares in which she relives the incident.

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Detectives believe her attacker may also have been responsible for the attempting rape of a 19-year-old girl in October, in an alleyway just 400 yards away.

Holly, a Tottenham Hotspur fan, was attacked at 10.40am while walking along a footpath which runs alongside Colchester Royal grammar school's sports field.

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She was late for work, having made a detour to drop off the dinner money her sister had forgotten to take to school.

Holly, who was 17 at the time, said: "The bloke was coming towards me. He said, have you got a light, and I said yes.Then he offered me a cigarette and I said no."

She said she walked on and "he must have come back. He grabbed hold of me with his left arm round my neck and held a knife to my neck.

"The blade was cold and sharp.'

An elderly man carrying a newspaper then walked towards them and he let go, she said.

"I walked quickly and he came back towards me. He grabbed hold of me but didn't have a knife. He said, don't scream.

"I just pretended to have an asthma attack and said I need my pump and he let me go.'

Holly, who was not hurt, ran to the nearest house to call the police.

The teenager described herself as a bubbly person with lots of friends, and a passion for nightclubbing, especially dancing to garage music.

Although her family, friends and especially her boyfriend of two years have given her valuable support, her personality and attitude have now changed. She said: "I don't go out as much as I used to. If I go down an alleyway I take my dog or someone with me. I keep looking over my shoulder.

"I now get the bus to work and don't walk - I shouldn't have to do that really just because someone has got a kick out of attacking people. My life has changed quite a lot, I haven't seen my friends for about a month.'

When asked what she would say to her attacker, she replied: "Get a life and give yourself up. He needs catching because who knows what he is capable of, he needs help.

"If anyone knows him they should tell him to get in contact with the police, otherwise he's going to hurt other children or women.'

Holly said: "I used to walk down the street and say hi to everybody I know, I don't do that now.

"If I see a funny looking man, or one who looks a bit different I don't even look at them, even if I know them, as I'm scared someone is going to attack me or hurt me again.

"At first I couldn't even go in my back garden.

"I wouldn't let anyone hug or kiss me, especially my boyfriend.

"My parents used to cuddle me before I went to bed but I said no I don't want to.

"I don't get a lot of sleep at night, because I have nightmares about it. I have sleeping tablets from the doctor but they don't really work.

"I don't wear skirts anymore or short tops, because I don't want to stand out.

"The only time I will be able to move on from this attack is when the bloke responsible is behind bars.'

The attacker is described as white, aged about 30, 6ft tall, slim with cropped brown hair which is greying.

He was wearing a blue raincoat, grey fleece jacket, light blue jeans and light brown lace up boots which were scuffed and spattered with white paint.

He also had a rough smoker's voice and a small scar under his right eye.

Detectives have a DNA profile of the man who sexually assaulted the 19-year-old woman in Bluebottle Grove, Colchester, last October, and have said the public response to this attack has been disappointing.

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