A woman who was repeatedly stabbed by a stranger while with her daughter in a pushchair says her “life is on hold”.
Josephine Conlon, 36, was attacked by Mark Brazant in London on 30 December just days after his release from jail.
Brazant, who has a history of mental illness, has been detained for life for attacking Mrs Conlon, who says her rehabilitation remains hard.
At the Old Bailey, he was ordered to serve a minimum hybrid hospital and custodial term of 11 years.
During the hearing, Mrs Conlon said she was discharged from hospital the day after the attack, close to her home in Streatham, but continues to have treatment for scars to her face and neck.
‘Struggle with crowds’
“It has been almost nine months since the attack and although I worked really hard to rehabilitate myself, it feels my life is on hold,” she told the court.
“I struggle with large crowds and I am unable to leave my house after dark.”
She described herself as a “very positive and social person” who loves being busy.
“Before the attack I used to pack my weekends and evenings full,” she continued.
“There have been periods where I have been very low… and it took me six months before I could go back to work.
“The physical wounds have been very hard to come to terms with. Having said that, I have been lucky – all I have is a few scars.
“I also feel I failed my daughter for walking her into such a dangerous situation and witnessing the attack on me. It could have been so different.”
‘Remorse hollow and meaningless’
The court heard Mrs Conlon’s employer provided security outside her home in the days after the attack, while Brazant was still at large.
At an earlier trial, which collapsed when the jury were unable to reach a verdict, the court heard Brazant, who has paranoid schizophrenia, had a history of attacking lone women for no reason.
Before a second trial could get under way in August, Brazant changed his plea to guilty, but Mrs Conlon has described his words of remorse as “hollow and meaningless”.
Mrs Conlon also spoke of unwanted press attention following the stabbing, with some members of her family and friends finding out about the incident through media coverage.
She said the trial process was “difficult”, and some members of the press approached her outside court, while another waited for her near her home – something she described as feeling “like a low blow”.
In a victim impact statement that was read to the court, her husband Greg, said he had to be careful where he stood in relation to his wife so as not to frighten her.
“I hope one day we can get our life back as before,” he said. “There will always be a shadow of what happened.”