By Hannah Phillips


A mum who had her throat slit in a terrifying random attack has spoken out for the first time – and revealed she still won’t let her teenage son our after dark alone over her knife crime fears.

Mum-of-two and stepmum-of-four Helen McAuley Sadler, 40, was stabbed in the neck, face and back five times and had her throat slit with an eight inch serrated blade after she was attacked by two teenage girls in a random attack at a funfair in Pontypridd, Wales, 19 years ago.

Former GP practice manager Helen, from nearby Penarth, had emergency life-saving surgery to stem two one-inch gashes across her throat and needed three more operations over the years after the knifing paralysed her vocal chords.


She is now sharing her story to put an end to young people carrying knives and said the brutal attack has made her so paranoid that even nearly two decades on she still doesn’t allow her 14-year-old to catch a train alone.

Helen said: “I know it’s made me more protective over my children, I’m really paranoid, especially about my son getting attacked.

“My fourteen-year-old, Finlay, went to a party and I wasn’t able to drive to get him so I went in a taxi because I wouldn’t have him getting a train alone.

“He’s not allowed out on his own in the dark. He doesn’t like that I’m so overprotective. I’m very strict about knives with the children.

“There’s so much knife crime. It’s happening everywhere. If my story helps one person then it’s worth telling it.”

Helen was at the funfair with her then three-year-old son, Kasim, when she asked two girls to stop swearing in front of the toddler.

She claims one of the girls slapped her in the face so she decided to leave but realised she was being followed.

A ‘scuffle’ broke out before one of the woman stabbed the terrified mum five times before allegedly attempting to stab her through the heart.

Helen said: “I left because I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“Someone came over to me and said the girls were following us so I asked my brother to take my son. She’d already slapped me once.

“They were shouting at me, saying vile things about my son so I lost my temper and we had a bit of a scuffle then I was stabbed.

“It’s difficult to explain. I saw the knife, I saw the shine.

“My brother came back as she was about to stab me in the heart and grabbed her arm.

“He saved my life, I don’t know what would have happened if he wasn’t there.

“I’d been stabbed twice in my throat, once in my cheek and three times in my back, one of which was one centimetre away from my lung.

“I was still having operations until eight years ago.

“I couldn’t speak, I had to have speech therapy and one of my vocal chords is paralysed.”

Helen said even now, she still doesn’t like being in crowded areas and is extra cautious with her children.


She was compelled to share her story after 19 years after seeing reports of a wave of knife crime gripping teenagers in the UK.

Helen said she never found out her attacker’s name, but said the underage girl was sentenced to nine months in prison and released early with an electronic tag while the teenager with her received a 12 month behaviour order.

Helen said: “I’m still angry at her sentence. She got nine months and it’s taken me years and years to recover.

“I wanted her to serve her time but it doesn’t control my life.”