Stranger pounces on estate agent, 22, in unprovoked attack

Stranger pounces on estate agent, 22, before grabbing her hair and punching her in the face in unprovoked attack

  • Elizabeth Noble was attacked on Saturday in Haywards Heath while returning to her car after finishing a house viewing 
  • An unseen assailant attacked her from behind before running off into bushes
  • Noble was left with a black eye and says she is still in shock following the assault
  • Sussex Police is now appealing for witnesses to come forward

A stranger pounced on a young woman, 22, grabbing her hair and punching her in the face before running off in an unprovoked attacked over the weekend. 

Elizabeth Noble described the terrifying encounter, which happened in Haywards Heath at around 12:50pm on Saturday.

Noble said she was walking along a footpath leading from Chapman Way to Colwell Road when an unseen stranger approached her from behind.

The suspect pulled her hair and punched her in the face before running off into some bushes, preventing her from identifying them.

Noble, an estate agent, had just finished a house viewing in Southdowns Park and was walking back to her car when she was assaulted. 

She told Sussex Live the incident was ‘a completely random and unprovoked attack’.

‘I was just walking to my car just through the cut-through and just had someone grab my hair from behind, push me forward and then punch me in the eye.

‘It happened so quickly, at the time I didn’t really have any chance to even think about things, it was like a flash that just went past.’

A stranger pounced on a young woman, 22, grabbing her hair and punching her in the face before running off in an unprovoked attacked over the weekend

Elizabeth Noble described the terrifying encounter, which happened in Haywards Heath at around 12:50pm on Saturday as she walked to her car

Noble said she was unable to take a photo or offer a description of her attacker but can remember details of the assault.

‘I said to the police like upon reflection and things, the size of what I felt of the hand that grabbed the back of my head definitely didn’t feel like a female average-sized hand, it definitely felt a lot larger,’ she explained.

‘But also the force of the punch to the face, like that was done with some force.’

Noble said she ran to her car before calling the police, and is hoping that someone saw the suspect between the time she left and the time the police arrived. 

‘I ran to my car, literally drove 100 metres down the road just in case someone was following me and then called the police straight away.

‘The person who attacked me had gone into the bushes as soon as he had punched me in the face.

‘They must have got out of those bushes at some point before the police had got there.

‘It’s whether anybody saw anyone like suspiciously running away or loitering around or anything.’

Noble said she still hasn’t been able to process the incident but added that she is working from the office while her black eye recovers. 

At the moment it’s quite strange because I still feel like I’m almost in shock about it, it’s not really sunk in.

‘So I think in time I will probably feel a bit more uneasy about things and watch where I’m walking and things and try and make it the most open route as possible but as the moment it’s still not properly sunk in what’s actually happened.

‘My eye is still throbbing but they said that it’s going to do it for a few days.’

Noble said that police had taken forensics from her face following the attack and officers are conducting door-to-door enquiries in case anyone in the area has information or CCTV and Ring doorbell footage.

‘In Haywards Heath in general they don’t really get very many random attacks, and that area in Haywards Heath is quite a nice area really,’ Noble said.

‘It was such a quick attack that there’s not too much to it which is really frustrating in the sense that I didn’t get any identity or something like that but it’s just hoping someone’s spotted something.’

Sussex Police is now appealing for witnesses to come forward.

PC Sam Chapman said: ‘We have had no reports recently of similar incidents or anything else that could be linked to this.

‘We would like to hear from anyone who saw what happened or who saw anything else suspicious in that area on Saturday morning. You can contact us either online or by calling 101, quoting serial 654 of 19/06.’

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