Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KNIFE HORROR OF MOTHER AND TODDLERHousewife Stabbed Just Yards from Her [Pounds Sterling]1m Home; Woman, 26, Critical after She Is Stabbed Walking with Her Son in Commuter Village MOTHER FIGHTS FOR LIFE AFTER HORRIFIC ATTACK IN 'SAFEST CORNER OF SAFEST COUNTY IN ENGLAND'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

KNIFE HORROR OF MOTHER AND TODDLERHousewife Stabbed Just Yards from Her [Pounds Sterling]1m Home; Woman, 26, Critical after She Is Stabbed Walking with Her Son in Commuter Village MOTHER FIGHTS FOR LIFE AFTER HORRIFIC ATTACK IN 'SAFEST CORNER OF SAFEST COUNTY IN ENGLAND'

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD EDWARDS;KIRAN RANDHAWA

A YOUNG mother is fighting for her life today after being stabbed in front of her one-year-old son.

Abigail Witchalls, 26, was knifed in the neck as she pushed her child in a buggy along a quiet village footpath in Surrey.

With blood pouring from the wound she was found by a neighbour near her home, a [pounds sterling]1million farmhouse conversion Mrs Witchalls is on a life-support machine, with her parents and husband at her hospital bedside. They say her spinal cord is damaged, leaving her paralysed.

The attack, which police called "horrific and unprovoked", came as official figures revealed a nine per cent surge in violent crime in England and Wales.

Mrs Witchalls' mother is a leading psychiatrist who will be inaugurated as president of the Royal College of Psychiatry in June.

Today Abigail's father-in-law James Witchalls told the Evening Standard her family is shattered.

"Abigail is absolutely beautiful," he said. "She is the most wonderful woman you could imagine."

He added: "She was walking along with Joseph, who is 21 months, when someone approached her and asked her for money. He then attacked her by stabbing her in the neck.

"Obviously there was a commotion and Abigail screamed.

A neighbour would have heard that scream and found her.

"The assailant has damaged her spinal cord leaving her totally paralysed.

She is now on a life-support machine, very seriously ill. Joseph was unharmed but during the attack his pushchair had turned upside down and he was on the floor."

Mr Witchalls added: "We border onto 300 acres of National Trust common land, which is a very popular walking area.

"She was just on one of the little walkways when the attacker confronted her."

The housewife, who was brought up in Wimbledon, was attacked minutes from her family home in the commuter village of Little Bookham, near Leatherhead.

Neighbour Robert Hall today told how he comforted the mother and child.

"I heard two loud screams. I rushed outside and saw her with her small boy," he said.

"She was on the ground but conscious. My neighbour had wrapped a scarf around her neck. …

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