A mum has spoken of a terrifying attempted robbery when she was punched and slashed with a 10-inch knife.
Lauren Douglas was attacked on Wednesday, when the knifeman leapt from bushes in Fairy Street, Hetton, at about 7pm.
The 28-year-old mum-of-two is now too frightened to go home.
She bravely spoke of her ordeal in the hope that her attacker is caught and does not harm anybody else.
Lauren told the Echo: “I’d just finished work as normal and got off the bus next to the nursery.
“I waved goodbye to my friend and walked around the corner. There have been no lights working around there for ages and it was pitch black.
“He reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife and cut me.” LAUREN DOUGLASLauren Douglas
“There is a public carpark at the bottom of the street and he must have been waiting in the bushes for someone to come along.
“He just ran out, but I didn’t see him until the last minute.
“He grabbed hold of my hair and pulled me down. He punched me in the face
“Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife and cut me.
“He didn’t stab me, it was more of a slash.
“Luckily I was wearing a thick coat and jumper but he cut through my clothes and into my stomach.
“I had a 7-inch cut but luckily it was only superficial.
“He tried to grab my bag. I had my bag over my arm and he ended up cutting my hand.
“I came back up and he tried to slash me with the knife again, trying to cut me on the face.”
The man ran off and Lauren managed to get to a friend’s house nearby and the alarm was raised.
The incident has had a devastating effect on her.
She said: “I don’t even want to go home.
“I haven’t even seen my children because of my face. I don’t want them to see me like this.
“I’ve lost my job as well, because I was on a temporary contract and had previous absences when my grandad died of cancer and my daughter was ill.
“Because they don’t know how long I’m going to be off, they have terminated my contract, so now I haven’t got a job.”
Lauren was treated in hospital for soft tissue damage to her jaw and around the eye socket. She is experiencing blurry vision which may require treatment at the eye infirmary.
Swabs were also taken from her face and clothing in the hope of finding DNA.
She said: “The police have been amazing from the moment they were called. Practically the whole station was there, even the sergeant. The cordoned off the full area.”
“It could have happened to anyone. I’ve been quite lucky really that the cuts weren’t deep. It could have been so much worse.”
The man is described as wearing dark clothing and anyone with information should speak to an officer on patrol or ring Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 887 of 09/11/16 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.