'The Fact That I Was So Tall Saved Me from Death'

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), January 9, 2007 | Go to article overview
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'The Fact That I Was So Tall Saved Me from Death'

Byline: By Lydia Whitield South Wales Echo

Teenager Lisa McConnell has always stood tall and proud.

At 6ft 2in, she's never been one to stoop or try to fit in with the crowd.

She comes from a tall family, her mum, Debbie Reynolds, dad Grant McConnell and gran Carol Reynolds are six-footers.

'My Nan used to joke we'd all grown up in a greenhouse! When I was in school, I never got picked on for my height, like some kids do. I got on with everyone and really enjoyed school,' says the 18-year-old child care student at Barry College.

When she started playgroup, staff thought she was old enough to be in nursery school because she was so big for her age, and during her secondary school days at Bryn Hafren, she towered above all the other children.

But she never realised how her important her height was until a vicious assault last April when she was battered over the head with a brick outside her grandparents house in Cadoc Crescent, Barry, by their neighbour Michael Board.

'Doctors said if I had been any shorter, I would have died or been brain damaged,' says Lisa who has a 37- inch inside leg and size nine feet.

'It would have cracked my temples. It seems crazy really, because I never thought my height would save me. You think, if anything, you're more likely to get hurt if something is thrown, because you stick out above other people. I feel so lucky I'm tall.

'It's so scary that if the brick had hit any lower, it could have erupted my brain or killed me. My height definitely saved my life.'

It turned out that because her attacker was slightly shorter than Lisa, he hit her with the brick at an unusual angle, fortunately missing the most fragile part of her skull but smashing the cartilage on the joint of her jaw.

Lisa was in hospital for four days and had four stitches to seal the three-inch wound at the side of her forehead after the assault, which also cracked her eye sockets.

'I couldn't eat or talk properly for ages after the attack,' Lisa, who is going to have treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, recalls.

Board, 23, was jailed for three and a half years in September after admitting wounding with intent at Cardiff Crown Court.

Before the attack in April, Lisa visited her grandparents Vincent Western, 69, and Carol Reynolds, 63, every day, in the house they have lived in for more than 20 years. Her aunt, Samantha Reynolds, lives a few doors up.

Lisa was crossing the small green outside their home to see a friend when jobless Board approached her with a brick. He had been involved in a long-running neighbours' dispute with her grandparents. Samantha had been friends with Michael Board's girlfriend, who lived a few doors down, until they argued a few months before he attacked Lisa.

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