THE victim of a violent sex attack has bravely spoken out about her ordeal, saying it left her too scared to go in her own back garden after dark.
Stephanie Hewson, from North Tyneside, was battered during a terrifying sexual 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 a 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. “I don’t even go in my back garden if it’s dark,” she said.
“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.
“I don’t go out on nights out any more and very rarely go out at all, only to restaurants if at all.
“I’m scared to get out of my car to go into work and I don’t go out at all if it’s dark – not even to the supermarket.
“I think back to when I was 18 and me and my friends used to walk home late at night.
“When this happened I only walked four car lengths and then this happened to me – it’s not worth it.
“Everyone needs to be on guard, especially when they’ve had a drink.