Tyne & Wear

Whitley Bay sexual assault victim in plea to find attacker

Stephanie Hewson
Image caption Miss Hewson said she does not go out on nights out any more

The victim of a sex assault on Tyneside in 2009 has spoken out about her ordeal in an attempt to find her attacker.

Stephanie Hewson, from North Tyneside, suffered serious facial injuries in the attack in Whitley Bay. Northumbria Police are still hunting the attacker.

Miss Hewson said: "It was horrible and it's a miracle I'm still here.

"I had gashes all over my back, the tops of my shoulders and my head, face and jaw were swollen."

She added: "I had black eyes and scrapes all over my body and I had damage to the backs of both of my eyes from being kicked so many times.

"My nose was broken and my mouth ripped apart from inside to out."

Miss Hewson, who was 23 at the time, walked alone towards Park Avenue at about 02:30 BST on Sunday 2 August 2009, when she was approached by a man who dragged her into the rear lane of Beach Avenue and sexually assaulted her.

Police found her in a distressed state with serious facial injuries.

'Nasty assault'

She said: "Since the attack my life has completely changed. I don't go out on nights out any more and very rarely go out at all, only to restaurants if at all.

Image caption Northumbria Police want to speak to this man in connection with the attack

"I'm scared to get out of my car to go into work and I don't go out at all if it's dark - not even to the supermarket if it's dark outside.

"I think back to when I was 18 and me and my friends used to walk home late at night and when this happened I only walked four car lengths and this happened to me - it's not worth it."

Northumbria Police have released CCTV footage on YouTube of a man they want to speak to in connection with the attack.

The CCTV images are of a white man aged in his mid-to-late 20s, with short hair, receding at the temples, wearing a mid-blue short sleeved T-shirt with the word Mackenzie in yellow, dark jeans and white trainers.

Det Insp Paul Race, from Northumbria Police Rape Investigation Team, said: "This was a particularly nasty assault on a young woman that left her with a number of serious physical injuries and emotionally distressed."

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