WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: An 18-year-old girl was on her way home from a night out with a friend when she says she was punched unconscious by a man because she rejected his advances.
Gabrielle Walsh told the Manchester Evening News she had just left a nightclub with a friend in the city’s centre when a group of three men started following them.
"I'd taken my shoes off and this guy came over and said, 'I like your feet',” Ms Walsh said.
"I just said, ‘Okay’, and we tried to walk away.”
But the trio continued to pursue Ms Walsh and her friend, Kyle McKeown, trying to talk to the young woman.
Eventually, she said she turned around told the men: “I'm sorry, I'm not interested.”
The men immediately became aggressive towards Ms Walsh and Mr McKeown.
"I was saying to Kyle, 'Let's go',” Ms Walsh recalled.
She said then one of the men launched at her.
"Then he hit me – he fully knocked me out,” Ms Walsh said.
When she woke up on the ground, the three men were attacking her friend who also sustained cuts and bruises.
The punch left her eye badly bruised and bleeding, with it needing stitches because her assailant had cut the muscle open, Ms Walsh said.
It was later discovered a blood clot had formed over the injured eye.
Ms Walsh said she could hardly see out of the eye and when she does open the eye she sees yellow.
Alleged attack was ‘unprovoked’
As well as reporting it to police, the pair’s outraged friend posted an account of the incident to social media with photos to try and find their attackers.
“This attack was completely unprovoked as she simply told the guy she wasn’t interested in him and as a result he did this,” their friend said.
The post has since amassed more than 3000 shares and attracted 1700 likes as well as hundreds of comments with people expressing disgust and outrage.
However, despite the outpouring of public support, the 18-year-old girl said the attack has made her frightened to go outside on her own.
Manchester Police confirmed they were investigating the assault and appealed for public information.
“This was a violent and unprovoked attack upon a young woman who was simply minding her own business during a night out,” Chief Inspector Cherie Buttle said.
“We are determined to find those responsible for this cowardly assault and would appeal to anyone who has information to come forward as soon as possible.”
The man who punched Ms Walsh is described as a white man aged in his late 20s to early 30s.
He had dark hair and was between 172cm and 179cm tall. He was wearing a black polo top with white writing on the front and dark jeans.
He was in the company of two other men — one of whom is described as similar to the offender in appearance, only slightly thinner.
The third man was slightly taller than the other two and was wearing dark blue jeans and a long-sleeved pink top.
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