A STUDENT who was the victim of a vicious racist attack in Exeter was taunted over the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
Kelly To, who is British-born but of Chinese origin, was punched several times in the face while being racially abused during an unprovoked assault at Exeter Quay the day after the London attack.
The 20-year-old, who is studying law at Exeter University, was walking towards the quay with her boyfriend when she came across the group.
"One of the guys asked us what did we think of the attack in Woolwich that had happened the day before," she said. "We said we don't know and did not want to give an opinion on such a sensitive issue. I turned around and this girl was right in my face.
"She grabbed my hair and punched me in the head five times. My boyfriend was trying to get in the way. The only reason the girl got off was that one of the other boys came over."
Miss To, who is now back home in London after completing the second year of her degree, said: "I was not really scared when it was going on – I was just very confused. I was surprised an attack like this could happen in Exeter.
"I did think about giving this girl a chance as she was young and had been drinking. But nobody should be allowed to get away with this."
Miss To said she felt physically okay immediately after the attack, but two days later had to go to hospital with sharp pains in her head. She was checked over and told there was no lasting damage.
But the mental scars are proving harder to heal.
She said: "I am more anxious when I go out. I have tried to not let this affect me but it has made me a lot more self-conscious.
"It is unacceptable to be racist in society. I don't hate the woman who did this and I am not scared of her, but I don't understand why she did it.
"There is all this talk of the Woolwich attack triggering race attacks in other parts of the country, and I just hope other people affected like this come forward and report it."
Last month another Chinese woman, a young student living in Exeter, was spat at in the street by a man in a suspected racist attack.
PC Caroline Stevens of Exeter CID is investigating the latest incident on Thursday, May 23, at about 3.45pm.
She said: "There were lots of people around so we would appeal for anyone who saw the group or the attack take place to contact us. It was a racially aggravated and unprovoked assault in broad daylight around the area of the quay where the subway comes out on to Commercial Road. We believe this was an isolated incident but if anyone does have worries they can contact us."
Contact PC Stevens on 101 quoting DE/13/4692.