AN award-winning crime author was attacked as she gave a talk on Wearside.
Black ink was pelted at murder writer Val McDermid as she gave a public lecture at Sunderland University on her illustrious career.
An OAP wearing a wig and hat made the attack at the end of the 45-minute talk as Val signed a book for her, before running away.
Shocked Val dubbed the stunt “bizarre” and took to Twitter to say: “I’m fine, a bit shaken, never had anything like that before.”
She added: “No accounting for nutters. First incident like this in 25 years of book events. Who knew I could provoke such unpleasantness from a stranger?
“She walked out before anyone grasped what had happened. Everyone was stunned.”
Northumbria Police launched an investigation into the attack which happened last Thursday and inquiries are still ongoing.
Val, who penned the books upon which ITV’s Wire in the Blood was based, was guest speaker as part of Sunderland University’s year-long public lecture series.
The author, who has sold 10 millions copies of her books worldwide, talked to a packed audience at the university’s Murray Library Lecture Theatre, in Chester Road.
A winner of the CWA Gold Dagger gong, LA Times Book of the Year and Stonewall Writer of the Year honours, she was recently labelled “The Master of the whodunit” by Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.
Following the talk, the Scot, who was inducted into prestigious the Crime Thriller Hall of Fame in 2009, then signed copies of her latest thriller – The Vanishing Point – which is when the attack was launched.
The lecture series at the university will continue into next year with a who’s who of national media figures including former filmmaker and former chancellor of Sunderland University David Puttnam, scientist and documentary maker Robert Winston, children’s writer Terry Deary, ITV news anchor Alastair Stewart, former Education Secretary Baroness Estelle Morris and BBC historian Michael Wood.
Val said: “I still enjoy writing as much as I did when my first book was published 25 years ago and one of the pleasures of my job is having the chance to meet and hear from readers.”
A spokesman for Sunderland University said: “We are saddened that this incident took place on university premises.
“We regularly have guest speakers at the university, and have never had any incidents of this type in the past, indeed Val McDermid is a regular visitor to the University of Sunderland.
“We are currently reviewing security videos of the incident with our own security staff and Northumbria Police.”