Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 21:14 UK

Woman 'feared gang-attack death'

A tram
Mrs Pickford was on her way home from a night out in Manchester

A mother-of-two has told how she "thought she was going to die" after she was kicked unconscious by a gang of youths on her tram journey home.

Julie Pickford, 47, had a fractured eye socket and severe cuts and bruises after being beaten by a gang of teenagers on the tram from Manchester.

Mrs Pickford said a youth was throwing popcorn at her face and when she asked him to stop, she was attacked.

A 15-year-old girl has been arrested and released on bail, police said.

She boarded the Metrolink tram at Timperley and was travelling home after a night out.

She was punched in the face and fell to the floor where she was then beaten by others in the gang.

'Good kicking'

Married mother-of-two Mrs Pickford, from Northwich, Cheshire, who has a judo black belt, said: "I've got feet marks all over my body.

"They kicked me so hard I've got a black eye. My lip's burst open."

Mrs Pickford was thrown off the tram on to the platform at Timperley. She said the youths threw her handbag at her, after stealing 50.

Police arrived on the scene and arrested a 15-year-old girl.

Mrs Pickford was taken to hospital and treated for her injuries.

She said: "Garry Newlove was kicked to death and I could have been kicked to death. These people are going around in groups and they're like animals."

The victim said she "curled into a ball and got a good kicking", but feared it could have got much worse.

Mrs Pickford, who was a policewoman for Greater Manchester Police for three years, believes the attack should never have been able to take place.

She added: "The police admitted to me that there had been trouble all night from these youths.

"Why did the police let the youths on knowing that there would be trouble? They (the police) should have been on the tram."

Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a 15-year-old girl had been arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed until next month and said their inquiry into the incident was ongoing.

Mr Newlove was attacked and killed by a gang he confronted outside his Warrington home in August 2007.

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