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Sex Attack Victim Tells Of Horrific Ordeal
The victim of a violent sex attack has spoken out about her ordeal which left her too scared to go in her own back garden in the dark.
Stephanie Hewson, from North Tyneside, was battered during a terrifying assault in Whitley Bay almost three years ago.
Northumbria Police have released CCTV footage of a suspect who they need to trace. It shows him stumbling as he walks along, apparently fiddling with the zip on his jeans.
Ms Hewson, then 23, had been on a night out with friends when she was battered and kicked, suffering black eyes and a broken nose.
She was sexually assaulted in a back alley off Beach Avenue, Whitley Bay, at around 2.30am on August 2, 2009.
The ordeal has changed her life, and she said: "I don't even go in my back garden if it's dark."
She added: "When I came out of hospital I was in a blur. I had gashes all over my back, the tops of my shoulders and my head, face and jaw were swollen.
"I had black eyes and scrapes all over my body and I had damage to the backs of both of my eyes from being kicked so many times.
"My nose was broken and my mouth ripped apart from inside to out.
"Since the attack my life has completely changed."
Following the attack police officers found her in a distressed state with serious facial injuries.
Before it happened she had been out in Newcastle and travelled by taxi to Whitley Bay, planning to meet up with pals.
She was seen outside a bar talking to friends and walked to the top of South Parade with a pal before she carried on towards Park Avenue alone.
She was approached by a man who dragged her into the rear lane of Beach Avenue and sexually assaulted her.
The suspect is white, in his mid to late 20s, with short hair, receding at the temples, and wore a blue short sleeved T-shirt with the word Mackenzie in yellow, dark jeans and white trainers.
Detective Inspector Paul Race, from Northumbria Police Rape Investigation Team, has urged anyone with any information to come forward.
He said: "This crime has never been closed and we regularly carry out reviews of unsolved crimes to see whether any further progress can be made.
"I have to praise Stephanie and her family for their courage shown since the incident happened and their support and help to officers investigating the attack.
"I also need to reassure the residents of Whitley Bay - and the wider public - that incidents of this nature are thankfully very unusual."
Anyone with any information into the incident is asked to contact the Northumbria Police rape team on 101 ext 69191 or by ringing the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.