Notting Hill Carnival: Woman describes moment attacker groped her and then punched her in the face

Mary Brandon posted image on Facebook to highlight dangers faced by women

A woman who was attacked at the Notting Hill Carnival has described the moment her face "exploded" after she was punched by a man who she had confronted for groping her.

Mary Brandon, who posted a picture of her injuries on Facebook, said she was now scared to go out and that she made her injuries public to highlight the levels of abuse many women have to endure.

Ms Brandon, 22, of south London, told the Evening Standard: “We were in the crowd at the Channel One sound system, listening to music, dancing and having a good time. Then I just felt his hand groping me. I turned around and said to him, ‘That’s not OK’, and I started to go into a panic. It happened again, I pushed him to get him as far away from my body as I could in that moment.

“I think he paused for a second as if to walk away then it was as if he changed his mind and came towards me.

“Next thing I recall is seeing him looking very determined, then my face felt like it exploded. It was a right hook.”

The student said the punch shattered her nose, which needed “gluing” together in hospital. However, she took the decision to post the shocking picture of her injuries on Facebook, where it was shared thousands of times.

She described the man as much taller than her and a “very wide, big guy”. She says he then melted into the crowd, leaving her on the road with blood pouring from her face and nose.

“It was very painful but mostly I was just scared. I wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen again,” she said.

“I knew he didn’t respect me or my consent, having groped my bottom and then hit me hard. I was holding my face trying to stop the blood.

“I don’t remember much as I was shocked and focusing on the pain.”

She said other revellers and people from the sound system rushed to her aid and called for medics.

Ms Brandon, who studies at Leeds University, praised an “amazing and reassuring” off-duty nurse who told her the best way to hold her nose and added that she was “going to be OK”. She said: “Residents ran out of their houses to bring me towels to soak up the blood and others got the police.”

Ms Brandon was taken by ambulance to St Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo, where her friends stayed with her and her mother, 58, an art restorer, rushed to be with her in casualty.

She was discharged early the next day, after nine hours in A&E.

Ms Brandon, who is studying English literature, said: “I was very shaken by the attack. I’m not feeling very safe and I don’t really want to leave my house. However, it has mostly made me feel defiant. It has upset me but it’s something women have to go through on the street.”

After posting the Facebook picture, she said: “I was surprised at the number of women who got in touch with me and sent me messages saying similar incidents had happened to them in London and rest of the UK.”

She urged witnesses to come forward so her attacker can be “brought to justice” and added that she is “scared of what he is capable of”.

Detectives are investigating the attack on Ms Brandon, which happened at about 5.30pm, as indecent assault and grievous bodily harm.

Officers from the Met’s Post-Carnival Investigations Team were today checking CCTV of the scene.

Witnesses are requested to telephone  0208 246 0076.

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