A WOMAN who stepped in to protect a stranger who was being assaulted and spat on in public was head-butted in the face before becoming the victim of an online hate campaign.

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Laurie Malyon, aged 22, from Weston, was waiting at a bus stop when she saw a man shouting and spitting at his girlfriend.

Fearing for the victim’s safety, she stepped in to help, telling Dacian Martin: “You don’t do that to a woman.”

Miss Malyon, who has a four-year-old daughter, said: “I could see the woman was vulnerable and I put myself between him and her, to stop him getting to her. It resulted in him head-butting me.

“At the time I didn’t think about it. I just stepped in.”

The head butt came at the end of a lengthy confrontation and left Laurie nursing a black eye and an injured nose.

Martin pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating when he appeared at North Somerset Courthouse on December 6. He will be sentenced on December 20.

Ms Malyon said: “It has upset me and made me edgy. I didn’t think anything of his threats at the time, but later I thought ‘what if he has got friends that will come and find me?’ I started having nightmares.”

Ms Malyon said the reason she stepped in to help was because she had experienced an abusive relationship herself in the past.

She said one of the things that helped her most in the aftermath of her own relationship was getting counselling from The Women’s Project, a free counselling service helping women who have suffered domestic abuse.

She added: “Countless times I was shouted at in public and people walked past as if it was an inconvenience to them. No-one stepped in and did anything.

“I looked at this woman and saw myself years ago. It was just horrible.”

Ms Malyon posted online about the incident, including photos of her injuries.

She added: “I posted a photo on a blogging site.

“When I went back to it the next morning it had 10,000 notes on it and I had 350 messages in my inbox.

“About 98 per cent of people have been wonderful and supportive, which is really lovely and encouraging.

“But there was a guy who took a photo from when I was attacked and a picture of me from before and put the two together, one over the other and said it proved I was faking my injuries.

“He said it showed the black eye was make-up.

“I did post things to try to prove it was true - letters from the courts, pictures of my nose from very close up.

“I was called a liar, and much worse, which was bizarre. I suffered a massive amount of internet bullying.

“There were some people convinced I did it just for internet points.

“I don’t want gratitude. I didn’t do it to be a hero. I put it on the internet to show people can be stood up to.”

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