A teenager was punched unconscious after she told a man who followed her from a nightclub: “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.”
Gabrielle Walsh, 18, and a male friend were attacked in the street in Manchester city centre in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has launched an investigation into the “cowardly” attack but no arrests have been made.
Ms Walsh and her friend Kyle McKeown were approached by three men as they walked away from Club Bloom in the city’s Gay Village at 3.30am.
She told theManchester Evening News: “I’d taken my shoes off and this guy came over and said ‘I like your feet’. I just said OK and we tried to walk away.
“They kept walking behind trying to talk to me. Eventually, I turned around and said ‘I’m sorry, I’m not interested’.”
Ms Walsh said one of the men, thought to be aged in his mid-20s, asked her if she was “with specky four eyes” and gestured towards Mr McKeown, who wears glasses.
“They kept harassing us,” she added. “Then he hit me – he fully knocked me out.
“When I woke up I was on the floor and the three of them had jumped on Kyle as well.”
The teenager got a taxi to hospital and was told she had a blood clot in her eye, which was left swollen and bruised by the punch. Mr McKeown suffered cuts and bruises.
Ms Walsh, who lives in Manchester’s Gorton suburb, hopes police will be able to obtain CCTV of the attack, which has let her in fear of going out in public on her own.
“I’m not a rude person, I just said ‘sorry I’m not interested’,” she added. “I think it was a jealousy, ego thing because I rejected him in front of his friends.
“Girls feel like they can’t say ‘no’. They feel like if they say ‘no’ then [men] might hurt you and in this case it was true.”
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The man who punched Ms Walsh was described as white, about 5ft 8ins tall, and wearing a pink t-shirt.
Chief inspector Cherie Buttle, of GMP’s city centre division, said: “This was a violent and unprovoked attack upon a young woman who was simply minding her own business during a night out.
“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.”