A finalist in a modelling competition has been left with severe facial injuries after being attacked by a stranger on her way home. Emma Clark, 27, had just got off the train with her mum and auntie when they were approached by an ‘angry’ man in Simonside, South Shields, on September 8. He stopped the women and asked Emma if she lived in ‘Madras Street’, with the aspiring mental health nurse thinking that he was ‘taking the mick’ because of her red hair. She said: ‘I told him I’d never heard of the street. He was really angry, pointing his finger. Then he grabbed me and we both fell over. ‘He sat on me and started punching my nose again and again. I heard a crack and felt the blood just trickling down. My mam had to grab him by the shirt and pull him off me.
‘My auntie was already on the phone to 999. He ran off. I took my heels off and ran straight after him even though my nose was flowing with blood. ‘I’m so thankful to my mam and and auntie that they got him off me. I dread to think what would have happened if I was on my own.’
Emma had just finished her mental health nursing degree and was starting to have interviews for potential jobs. She had previously competed in the North East Calendar Girls Grand Final, making it to the final 75 girls out of 1,000 applicants. But now she says the assault has left her ‘shaken’ and caused her self esteem to drop.
Emma continued: ‘I don’t want to go out. I want people to see what he’s done but I don’t want to walk around like this. ‘I am just hoping the doctors can fix me. I was shocked. I felt like it happened so fast. I can’t even breathe out of my nose, it’s so hard.’
She added: ‘It’s a canny bad break, it’s squashed against my face. It’s awful. It’s painful. It’s numb but it’s a horrible feeling. My eyes starting to go really black. ‘I haven’t been able to sleep at all. If my mam hadn’t got her phone out and said she was going to take a photo he could have done a lot worse.’ Police said a man aged 55 has been arrested in connection with the attack.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: ‘Shortly after 11.55pm (on Sunday), police received a report of assault at an address on Collin Drive, South Shields. ‘It was reported that a 27-year-old woman had sustained injuries to her nose after being assaulted. ‘Officers attended and a 55-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault. He has been released under investigation and enquiries are ongoing.’