A 19-year-old student has been left scarred for life after a stranger followed her out of a nightclub and brutally attacked her with a knuckle duster.
Chloe Dutton, 19, was enjoying a Christmas night out in Southend, Essex, when the man followed her and her friends out of a nightclub, knocking two of them to the ground and striking her in the face.
She was left with horrific facial injuries and needed emergency plastic surgery on a wound from her eye to her cheek which was pouring with blood. She now faces further operations on a broken eye socket.
The incident occurred as Miss Dutton, from Westcliff, Essex, left Talk nightclub with two friends on Boxing Day and went to get a takeaway near Southend Bus Station.
They became aware they were being followed by a man and told him to stop pestering them.
However, he then knocked two of them to the ground before targeting Miss Dutton by punching her in the face with what is thought to be a knuckle duster.
The student, who is studying social work at Kent University, said: 'I went out with two girlfriends on Boxing Day night. 'As we walked along the road we realised we were being followed. He kept trying to separate me from my friends.
'My friends told him I wasn't interested and to go away but he started attacking them. He got them on the floor and kicked them several times, then he attacked me.
'The police and ambulance were called but the ambulance didn't come. The police took us to hospital.
'I was in a lot of pain and the wind was blowing on a huge gash from my eye to my cheek so my friends asked if I could sit in the police van. The blood was pouring down my face.'
She added: 'I had to wait five hours in A&E and when they did examine me they transferred me immediately to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. I had to have plastic surgery and didn't leave hospital until Sunday night.
'I have to go back for a CAT scan. They said he must have been using some sort of knuckle duster to do so much damage and that I will be scarred for life.
'I might have to have more surgery on the broken eye socket, which will leave more scars.
'They will decide whether to use a plate or let it heal naturally.'
A police spokesman said: 'We were called at 2.10am to reports an Asian man assaulted a woman and her two friends.
'The women reported they were walking through town when he began speaking to them.
'They asked him to stop as they didn't know him and at that point he assaulted them.
'One girl was badly injured and has a fractured eye socket. A police vehicle took them to hospital.'
Police said the man is described as Asian, about 25-years-old and was wearing a black jacket, jeans and a grey hat.
An ambulance spokesman said: 'We were called at 2.09am to the bus station in Southend to reports of a woman in her late teens with a facial injury.
'She was reported to have cuts to her left eye. At 2.38am we were told to stand down as the police were going to take the patient to hospital.'
The spokesman confirmed an ambulance hadn't been dispatched by the time they were told to stand down.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Southend CID on 101.