Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:17 UK

'I was a victim of the strangler-robbers'

By Sangita Myska
BBC News correspondent

Sangita Myska
Sangita Myska was attacked by the pair as she returned home

It may sound a little naive, but I've spent so much of my career reporting serious crime that it never struck me I might actually be a victim of it.

The difficult task of talking to victims, visiting crime scenes and dealing with the police was so familiar to me that, quite unconsciously, I'd developed a sense of immunity.

Street crime was something that happened to other people. Not to me. I just reported the facts.

That all changed in March last year. I'd returned home late and was locking the car when two men grabbed me from behind.

I was knocked off my feet and dragged backwards.

'Easy prey'

When I struggled my neck was twisted so hard that another few millimetres and it would have broken.

I was threatened, 'shout again and I'll break your neck', roughed up and robbed.

All the while Daniel Mykoo whispered his threats and instructions with professional precision.

Daniel and Matthew Mykoo
Daniel Mykoo (left) and his brother Matthew attacked lone women

I had become, as some newspapers were to neatly put it, the latest victim of London's "strangler-robbers".

I, like their other targets, was easy prey. I'm 5ft 4in (1.6m) tall, weighed eight stone and was alone.

They were the cowards and I was the victim. The only thing is, it didn't feel like it.

Instead for weeks afterwards I felt angry - and mostly at myself.

I felt weak for not fighting them off harder and guilty for putting my family through the turmoil that followed.

These men had robbed me of more than my wedding ring, they'd stolen my confidence.

I began to experience panic attacks. Everyday activities felt unreasonably risky
Sangita Myska

I grew to resent the word victim. I couldn't relate to it.

I'd always been a streetwise, professional woman who had every right to walk down the street without fear of attack ... the problem was, I wasn't behaving like it.

I began to experience panic attacks. Everyday activities felt unreasonably risky.

In the past I wouldn't have thought twice about walking past a group of hoodies.

Instinctively I now crossed the road. I avoided meeting friends in the evening, walking home after work and travelling on the Tube after dark.

But I was one of the lucky ones. I had the invaluable support of great family and friends.

Over the months I began to feel better and regained my confidence.

When the case came to court, I had the chance to listen to the impact statements of the other women who had been mugged by Mykoo.

What struck me was how similarly we had been affected by what had happened.

Everything we had been feeling was textbook and typical of those who, for want of a better phrase, experience this sort of mid-level street crime.

It is now over a year on and Daniel Mykoo has been sentenced to life after pleading guilty to being the strangler, part of a duo who mugged me and more than 80 others.

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