A TEENAGE girl who suffered bruising to the brain after a gang launched a vicious attack on her at the Tar Barrels event has spoken about the shocking assault.
The 16-year-old, from Whipton, Exeter, became separated from her friends at the annual bonfire night event in Ottery St Mary, and was grabbed by a man before being dragged to an alleyway.
The attacker covered the teenager's mouth and eyes and threw her to the floor.
He then began kicking her to the stomach and chest area before shouting to some friends to join in. Three or four women also began assaulting the girl.
Police said it was only when the victim started coughing up blood that the group ran off.
The girl, who is studying for her A-levels and asked not to be named, told the Echo: "I wanted to find my friends quickly as I was getting a lift back with them.
"A man grabbed me from behind, covered my eyes and mouth, and dragged me down this dark alleyway.
"That is when he thew me on the floor and started kicking me to the head, chest and face.
"He shouted, 'Come on' to these women and they did the same to me.
"He was saying, 'Kick her harder'.
"I started coughing up loads of blood and that's when they left. They left me in a pool of my own blood.
"I was unconscious for a little while, until one of my friend's uncle's friends recognised me."
She added: "They said my injuries could have been a lot worse.
"But mentally, it is still affecting me. I find it difficult to sleep and I'm scared to leave the house.
"It was very violent, really aggressive."
The incident happened shortly after the last barrel had run.
After losing her friends, the victim is understood to have taken a shortcut through what is believed to be the area of Broad Street, in the town.
Police believe the same group may have attacked others during the night and are urging any potential victims to come forward.
They are also appealing for any witnesses to the attack to contact them.
The group are said to have been around 30 to 40 years old, with one of the females described as having a "gruff" voice.
The man is described as being of muscular build, around 6ft tall or taller and was wearing a long-sleeved top.
The victim was treated in hospital and although she suffered no visible injuries, she has internal bruising and bruising to her brain.
Anyone who was in the area at the time and saw the attack or who was the victim of a similar assault in Ottery St Mary on November 5 is asked to contact police on 101 quoting crime reference KO/12/627.