My knickers saved me
My ex had laid a trap for me, and she wasn’t alone...
I heard the lock click behind me, and just knew...
Wriggling my toes in the sand, I took my girlfriend Simone’s hand.
What more could I want? I thought.
It was summer 2017 – and as we watched the twinkling lights of Blackpool’s seafront, I couldn’t have been happier.
After a difficult upbringing, I’d moved into supported accommodation in my teens.
That’s how I’d met Simone McDermott. We’d just clicked.
Both 18, we came from similar backgrounds. But our relationship was tumultuous.
Simone was constantly trying to make me feel jealous.
‘I’m seeing other people, it’s not working,’ Simone spat during one row.
She’s messing with your head, I told myself.
And sure enough…
Let’s get back together, Simone texted later that night.
The on-off drama was so exhausting.
But I really liked her... Soon after, I visited my mum in Spain.
‘I can’t wait for you to get back,’ Simone said, hugging me goodbye.
But, lounging beside the pool a week later, I received
a Snapchat from Simone. In the photo, a girl I didn’t recognise was perched on Simone’s bed. Moments later, a second pic – two pairs of legs stretched out together in bed.
My heart sank. Simone was obviously seeing somebody else.
If that’s what you want, that’s fine, I replied.
I was devastated.
But I wasn’t about to beg for another chance.
So I stayed in Spain a bit longer, flying back for New Year.
Only, a couple of days later, as I boarded a tram, I spotted Simone.
Beside her was our mutual friend Vicky Houghton.
Pulling my hood up, I moved away. ‘You s**g,’ I heard Simone hiss, sliding into the seat behind me.
Their cruel taunts continued, and they started taking my picture.
Humiliated, I got off the tram.
Couldn’t understand why Simone was being so vindictive. She’d dumped me! Later, I received a message from Simone, apologising.
I’ve broken up with Melissa, it read. Will you come over? I don’t feel safe.
I was suspicious. And still angry. But despite everything, I still cared for her.
When I arrived at her house, Simone was waiting outside. ‘I’ve missed you,’ she said. Only, as we got inside the front door, I heard the lock click behind me, and just knew…
It was a set-up.
Shaking, I heard the harrowing cackle of laughter.
Glancing up the stairs, I saw three girls running towards me, led by Melissa.
Suddenly, she swung her foot at my head.
Dropping to the floor, disoriented and in agony,
I felt continuous, unrelenting kicks and punches to my
head, face and body.
I quickly hid my phone
– my lifeline – in my knickers, before any of the girls could see what I was doing.
‘Please, let me go,’
I begged, sobbing.
‘I’m going to break your f***ing face,’ Melissa screamed.
The others demanded my phone, taking it in turns to beat me.
‘I don’t have it,’ I lied.
Feet and fists pummelled me, coming from all angles. I heard my attackers laugh with glee. Like a pack of hyenas. After a long two minutes,
I was dragged out the door and dumped in a heap. My vision blurring as my eyes swelled,
I hid behind a parked car. My phone was still safely in my underwear, so I grabbed it and called the police. They arrived 20 minutes later and called an ambulance. At the Royal Manchester Infirmary, a CT scan showed severe bruising to my head and body.
One of my fingernails was also badly damaged.
In the weeks after, I struggled. Too scared to leave the house, I became a recluse.
In April 2019, Simone McDermott, 19, appeared at Manchester Crown Court.
She and Melissa Marriott, 19, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob.
Victoria (Vicky) Houghton and Siobhan Wait, both 19, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The court heard how Simone had whipped up Melissa into a jealous, violent rage because she thought I had intimate photos of us on my phone.
Turned out Vicky had filmed the whole attack, too.
The video, found by police officers when they’d seized her phone, was shown in court.
I sobbed, watching myself curled in a ball in the hallway, as they rained down kicks on me.
Horrified, I waited for justice to be handed out.
Only, they all got suspended sentences!
Melissa got two years, Vicky 14 months, Siobhan 13 months
– all in a young offenders’ institution.
Yet none of them would set foot in jail – unless they broke the law again within two years.
Simone and Melissa had to do 280 hours of unpaid work, 30 days rehabilitation activity requirements and pay me £750 compensation.
Victoria and Siobhan got 180 hours unpaid work and were ordered to pay me £250 in compensation. ‘Pathetic,’ I cried.
I’m terrified whenever I see a group of people in the street. Still suffer anxiety and have horrific nightmares.
Most nights, I can’t sleep at all.
Why should they be allowed to go home and sleep soundly in their own beds while I’m left with mental scars?
I’ve got a new girlfriend now, but it took a year to trust someone again.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over the betrayal.
As I curled in a ball, they rained down kicks on me
I was badly beaten up
Simone The court where the girls were sentenced Melissa Vicky Siobhan I’ve been left with mental scars, have nightmares