‘Darling, hit her’ – Sunderland schoolgirl tells of beating horror at hands of couple

Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, who was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn, leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.
Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, who was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn, leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.
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A SCHOOLGIRL beaten at the hands of a Wearside thug has told of her terrifying ordeal.

Katie Nattrass, 15, was left afraid to go out after the sickening assault by Mark Wharton and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn.

Dated 21/12/2012''Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn (pictured here), leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.''See story North News'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

Dated 21/12/2012''Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn (pictured here), leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.''See story North News'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

The teenager was out with friends at a skate park when Wharton, a convicted robber, set upon her and spat in her face.

He then knocked his victim to the ground and began punching, kicking and stamping on her.

He then told Blackburn, of of Clovelly Road, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, “Darling, hit her”, and they both attacked her as she lay on the ground.

Katie pleaded with the pair by telling them: “I’m only 15”, to which Blackburn replied “I don’t care”.

Dated 21/12/2012''Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton (pictured here) and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn, leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.''See story North News'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

Dated 21/12/2012''Schoolgirl Katie Nattrass, 15, was savagely beaten by couple Mark Wharton (pictured here) and his girlfriend Hayley Blackburn, leaving her in a neck brace after she was set upon while out with friends at a skate park.''See story North News'' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

Wharton, 42, was jailed for 15 months and Blackburn, 22, was given an eight-month suspended sentence with a curfew for the attack.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Wharton had once been jailed for nine years for robbery.

After the sentencing, Katie, of Teams, Gateshead, waived her right to anonymity to warn others of the dangers facing teenagers hanging out on the streets.

Katie was with friends at a skate park near the A167 Gateshead Highway, when Wharton and Blackburn claimed someone had thrown a bottle towards them.

She said: “There were about 20 of us in the park and one of my friends threw a glass bottle, not at anyone, just on the ground, and they came over and that’s when they started hitting me.”

“My friend who threw the glass admitted it and I said to them ‘I told you it wasn’t me’ then he spat in my face and started hitting me again.

“All my friends were standing around and didn’t know what to do. Hayley was shouting at us and we tried to leave but she wouldn’t let us.

“I tried to get away but I got dragged back by my legs. I shouted ‘I’m only 15, get off us’ and she just said ‘I don’t care’ and kicked me.”

Katie was left with a number of injuries including bruising and swelling to her cheekbone and jaw, a black eye, bruising to her stomach and scratches to her legs.

Mum Joanne, 34, said: “She also had fractured ribs and a suspected ruptured spleen but luckily that wasn’t the case. There were bruises all over and she had a footprint on her body. She was in a neck brace for a week and half.”

Blackburn and Wharton, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to assault.

Peter Walsh, for Wharton, said he did not realise how young Katie was. Blackburn had not been in trouble before and is said to be ashamed.

Kati, said: “I’m really pleased with the outcome and it does make me feel a bit safer knowing he’s in prison.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham