Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 18:57 UK

Gang attack left MP unconscious

Anne Moffat (pics by BBC Scotland)
Anne Moffat has been recovering at home following the attack

Police have launched an investigation after Labour MP Anne Moffat was attacked, BBC Scotland has learned.

Ms Moffat said she was mugged by a gang of drunken youths and left with broken ribs while jogging near her home, in Cockenzie, East Lothian.

The East Lothian MP was knocked unconscious and her watch and jewellery taken by her attackers.

She was treated in hospital in Edinburgh after the incident on Friday and branded her attackers "scum".

Police said they were looking for up to six young men between 18 and 20-years-old.

Ms Moffat, 50, who has been recovering at home after also suffering cuts and bruises, told BBC Scotland the attack happened in the evening, while she was exercising on a popular coastal path.

"I was doing a bit of running and a bit of walking and I heard a group of youths in front of me," she said.

These people are just scum. Just nasty, horrible people getting fired up with drink and drugs and not realising what they're doing to people's lives
Anne Moffat MP

"I didn't see them but I heard them and I could tell that they were either high or drunk or they were very loud.

"I took my mobile phone out of my pocket and held on to it and when I came across them I realised they were really quite rowdy and could have been a bit of a threat, but I didn't think this much of a threat."

Ms Moffat said her attackers may have belonged to a local gang known as "The Untouchables" and did not completely rule out the fact she may have been targeted.

She went on: "I veered to the side away from them and put my head down. The only thing I noticed was one of them was wearing a Celtic top.

"The next thing I knew, they were all jostling about and I don't know if I was pushed or tripped or how it happened but I went down and I knocked my head on a boulder or a stone of some sort and I was knocked out."

Ms Moffat said she did not know how long she had been unconscious, adding: "All I remember is just falling down and my head banging and then wakening up again."

She was so disorientated, she was not able to call the emergency services and instead phoned the last person she had called on her mobile phone, a friend who called police and paramedics.

"They took my gold chain and my good watch and my diamond stud earrings and I had a diamond ring on that they took," said Ms Moffat.

Anne Moffat's injuries to her head, hand and leg (Pictures by BBC Scotland)
Ms Moffat suffered several injuries, including broken ribs, in the attack

"They obviously tried to get my bracelets off, not realising there is a clasp on them - but they're all scratched to bits."

Ms Moffat said tearfully: "Its more the shock of it really. The injuries will heal."

She went on: "Imagine if it was a frail, old lady. I don't know if she would have survived it.

"These people are just scum. Just nasty, horrible people getting fired up with drink and drugs and not realising what they're doing to people's lives.

"Its made me more aware of what it's like to be a victim."

The MP, whose property has been attacked in the past and who has complained of a political vendetta against her, said it was "highly unlikely" she had been targeted.

But she said: "I suppose there's a slight chance. I suppose those that have been nasty towards me politically could have said 'duff her up' or something like that.

"But there was no way they would know I was going out at that time of the night."


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