London student ‘nearly blinded’ after being punched on the bus by man holding keys

She allegedly waited 13 weeks for the police to take her statement after reporting the attack

TW: descriptions of assault and graphic photos of blood and injury

A University of Greenwich student was “nearly blinded” after a man holding keys punched her in the face.

The student said the incident happened after she knocked into the attacker while running for a bus on Brixton High Road. She claimed she was punched after hearing threats like, “You think I wouldn’t punch a woman?”, MyLondon reports.

No one has been caught since the offence in June, but the Metropolitan Police said they “remain committed to identifying the man responsible.”

The Greenwich student was stabbed in the eye by the keys her attacker was holding (Credit: Karina Necula)

Karina Necula, a 21-year-old studying criminal psychology, ran off the bus immediately after the attack to a nearby H&M, where an ambulance was called on her behalf. She reported feeling like everything is “in slow motion” due to a concussion from the incident.

She recalled: “After he punched me, immediately I started bleeding. I had my hands down to catch the blood.

“I was really, really panicked. I actually thought that the blood was coming from my eyes because he had a key in his hand. So it slashed underneath my eye but I didn’t know if it went into my actual eye.”

While she was “freaking out big time,” Karina praised the paramedics who held her hand to calm her down as she was rushed to King’s College Hospital. Doctors there found two fractures in her eye socket and a broken bone near her nose. These injuries prompted a five-hour surgery eight weeks later, with the waiting time causing her to cancel plans for the summer holidays as her eye was in a “precarious state.”

Karina couldn’t even sleep on her side while waiting for the surgery (Credit: Karina Necula)

Karina explained: “Your eye can drop a few centimetres and still stay in your head and be fine.

“But mine had trapped tissue and trapped nerve, so I couldn’t move my eye. And that was causing my vision problems. I couldn’t look up, down, left and right, I could only look forward.

“I was in extreme pain. And I was depressed. I couldn’t leave the house, and I was just so worried I would go blind. I just cried literally every day,” she said.

Despite undergoing surgery, Karina was still left with long-term eye damage, including something called “monocular vision.” This condition causes the appearance of one pupil to be bigger than the other, and Karina said this made her feel “ugly.” The psychological consequences of this attack are also seen as Karina said she has become afraid of being alone and showing her previously “bubbly” personality in public out of the fear of being attacked again.

Adding to her medical and emotional distress, the surgery was unfortunately planned on one of her exam dates, and Karina claimed the university was unwilling to offer her an alternative date. This clash ultimately ended with her being put back a year in her programme – something the university claims to have “happened automatically” while stressing that she appealed.

A spokesperson for the university said: “The university is continuing to support Karina with her studies and her wellbeing following this terrible incident.

“The deferral of her course happened automatically and her appeal is underway. The university, and her tutors, are supporting her in this process.”

Karina is still feeling the physical, emotional, and even academic consequences of  the offence (Credit: Karina Necula)

At the time of writing, no arrests have been made. This partially due to the lack of CCTV evidence, but Karina also claims how the police handled the incident played a part in the lack of outcome.

She claimed while she reported to the police on June 4th, officers only came to her for a statement 13 weeks later, on July 27th.

“I just want people to know that sometimes you really really have to push the police to get a result. I just wanted the police to be there for me, but on this occasion, they weren’t,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Officers have carried out a number of enquiries and have obtained CCTV from the local authority and several nearby businesses. Unfortunately, none of the cameras captured the incident or the suspect.

“A computer-generated image of the suspect has been released and we remain committed to identifying the man responsible. No one should have to put up with unwanted attention or predatory, sexual or violent behaviour.”

Police is using a computer-generated photo to find the attacker due to a lack of surveillance in the area (Credit: Met Police)

Anyone with information is encouraged to call police on 101 quoting CAD 5031/04Jun. Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you are experiencing distress related to this incident and story, please speak to someone. Samaritans can be contacted by calling 116 123, Anxiety UK by 03444 775 774, and Mind by 0300 123 3393 at any time. 

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