Cambridge

Mum’s terror as she is attacked while waiting alone at bus stop

A Cambridge mother has spoken of her terror after she was attacked while waiting alone at a city bus stop.

Jo Whatley, who lives in the city's Ribston Way, was waiting for the Citi 2 bus on Green End Road when the attack took place.

The 47-year-old was taking the first bus of the day on Wednesday (October 10) to get to her work as a site administrator in Fulbourn.

But as she was standing alone at the bus stop, a man jumped out of a gap in a hedge behind her.

"This guy just runs at me, screaming, swearing," Jo said. "He's an older man.

"He's hitting my hands rather than me – I'm managing to dodge him.

"I'm quite a strong woman – I thought I would be strong [in a situation like this].

"I just froze, absolutely petrified. He said he was going to kill me."

She said she "begged" the man to leave her alone, telling him: "I'm just waiting for the bus."

He appeared to leave but then came back, Jo said. She said the first time he returned she pleaded for her safety again, and the second time she was about to call 999 when the bus finally arrived.

"I was in pieces," the mum said.

Jo Whatley at the temporary bus stop on Green End Road in Chesterton. (Image: Cambridge News)

Bus delays

Jo's bus had been due to arrive at the stop at 6.02am, and the mum had been waiting there since 5.55am – but she said the bus did not turn up until 6.15am.

"If the bus had been there, I wouldn't have been there to be attacked," she said.

The 47-year-old said she had been raising weekly complaints with bus company Stagecoach about the late running of the bus since she started taking the Citi 2 a year and a half ago.

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Stagecoach buses in the news

She said she was told by the driver of the bus on Wednesday morning that the reason for the delay was that the first two buses he tried to set out on were unsafe.

She said she was told that one bus had a problem with its lights, while another had a mechanical fault.

Jo continued: "We have to find a solution. What I have suggested to Stagecoach is you could employ someone at a good time to check these buses and you could make your drivers' lives far easier."

Jo Whatley who was attacked on Green End Road in Chesterton. (Image: Cambridge News)

Andy Campbell, MD of Stagecoach East: “Our driver left the depot ten minutes late on Wednesday morning, as his pre-departure check identified a non-working headlight bulb that needed to be replaced for safety reasons.

"We do repair faults overnight, wherever possible, and our drivers are issued with defect cards to help them report problems – but light bulbs can blow at any time.”

Living in fear

Jo was so afraid after the attack that her husband Mark Whatley walked her to the bus stop on Thursday and Friday.

She said: "He's disabled – he's walking at that time with a zimmer frame."

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Her 17-year-old daughter Mollie, a student at Hills Road Sixth Form College, was too afraid to go into college on Thursday (October 11), and on Friday Mark walked her to the bus stop as well.

Both Jo and Mollie are now carrying personal alarms with them when they go to work or school.

Jo says she was yet to figure out what to do to have a safe commute in the future.

Police say an investigation is ongoing into the attack.

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