‘Every day since the attack has been a struggle’

A man spotted on CCTV at robbery at Co-op in Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw on Saturday, July 22. Picture: Hampshire police

Robber chased by pub punters after threatening Co-op workers in Portsmouth

‘I LIVE in a city where I thought bad things only happen to bad people.

‘On April 11, 2016, my life changed completely and every day since has been a struggle.

‘I was brutally attacked but still have no proper memory of what happened.

‘This statement is about how that day and this man changed my life.’

Those four paragraphs are how the 17-year-old victim opened up in a statement read out in front of James Hemming.

With his head bowed in the open dock at Portsmouth Crown Court the 29-year-old listened in silence.

‘I suffered severe head injuries that have left me with brain damage and permanent scarring to my arms, face and head,’ the statement continued.

‘The scarring to my head has resulted in hair loss.’

She added: ‘I have to take tablets due to the unbearable pain of fractures in my skull. I struggle with everyday life.’

But she laid bare how the physical injuries are only part of the impact.

The girl, now 18 but who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was unable to even remember her sister’s pregnancy or child being born.

She suffers from terrible headaches, has post-traumatic stress disorder and gets easily angry or upset.

The effect of the attack has destroyed her hopes of getting a job in a caring profession as she is unable to work.

‘I’ve had flashbacks of being pushed and crouched down with arms on my head,’ she added.

‘This only lasts for a few seconds but the thought lasts for weeks.’

Despite knowing the police have caught Hemming she still fears he is around.

‘My mind still plays tricks on me that the man is out there,’ she said.