‘Convinced they were going to kill me’
A BRITISH beauty was stabbed and had her hair hacked off in a "ritual shaming" by a gypsy gang who wrongly accused her of having an affair with a married man in Portugal.
Pretty Leighanne Rumney, 22, was kidnapped by the man's relatives, who stripped her and stabbed her repeatedly in the back before chopping off her long blonde hair.
She lost two litres of blood and needed emergency surgery after staggering naked into the road to flag down a passing car following the horror in a Portuguese forest.
Her two female attackers - said to be the man's wife and mother - and a male getaway car driver face trial in Portugal next week.
The attractive woman was working as a waitress at The Hot Shot Bar in Albufeira on the Algarve when she caught the eye of a local Roma gypsy regular.
She spurned his advances but his family became convinced they were having an affair - and lured her into a trap to exact ritual revenge, the court will hear.
Leighanne told The Sun: "I noticed this man was taking an interest in me when I was working behind the bar but didn't fancy him and never dated him.
"But his family seemed to think we were having an affair and wouldn't listen to me when I tried to explain nothing was going on.
"I was very naive and made the mistake of getting into their car while trying to argue I was innocent then realised straight away I was in trouble.
"They drove me 45 minutes away from where I lived to a remote spot then opened and bag which I saw contained two knives and scissors.
"I was convinced they were going to kill me and was so scared I didn't move or speak as the two women stripped me naked and started stabbing me in the back.
"They finally took the scissors and chopped off all my hair - it was some kind of a ritual to shame me - then left me with blood pouring from my wounds."
Leighanne was fading fast and naked apart from her sandals but managed to crawl to a road and was saved by a passing driver.
NINE SCARS IN TOTAL
The vicious attack happened in May 2015 - but is only now coming to court next Wednesday in Albufeira amid concerns that the gang could intimidate police and witnesses.
Leighanne - who has since given birth to a baby boy after recovering from her ordeal back home in the North East of England - said: "I've been scarred for life - I've nine scars in total all over my back.
"I was covered in so much blood I thought I was dying and now have baths rather than showers because I get flashbacks of blood pouring down my body," she said.
"The Portuguese police took statements and took pictures of my injuries at the time but I've heard nothing since and didn't even know there was a court case next week.
"But I'm hoping these people finally get what they deserve for what they did to me.
"My physical scars have healed but the mental ones are still there - they should pay for what they did."
Accused Rute Isabel Almeida, 40, and Eliana Carvalho, 24, have been charged with kidnap and assault alongside driver Tiago Soutenho, 22.
The trio - said by police and court officials to be from the local Roma gypsy community from Porches near Albufeira - are alleged to have attacked Leighanne near Alcantarilha.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.