A teenage girl was punched unconscious after she told a man who was following her: “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.”

Gabrielle Welsh, 18-year-old, was approached by three men when she was on a night out with a friend in Central Manchester.

Welsh and her friend, Kyle McKeown, walked away from the men but they kept following them, insisting on talking to her.

She told the Manchester Evening News:

“I’d taken my shoes off, and this guy came over and said ‘I like your feet.’ I just said OK, and we tried to walk away.”

“They kept walking behind, trying to talk to me. Eventually, I turned around and said ‘I’m sorry, I’m not interested.’”

But her comment sparked a row that made one of the men to turn violent.

Gabrielle, who’s a college student, said:

“They kept harassing us. I was saying to Kyle ‘let’s go.’”

“Then he hit me – he fully knocked me out.”

“When I woke up, I was on the floor, and the three of them had jumped on Kyle as well.”

Gabrielle and her friend were assisted by volunteers from the Village Angels community safety group.

She then took a taxi to the hospital where the doctors revealed she had suffered a blood clot in her eye. The eye was left bruised and swollen by the punch.

Her friend, Kyles, also suffered bruises and cuts.

Gabrielle, who lives in Manchester’s Gorton suburb, hopes authorities will be able to obtain CCTV of the attack. The incident has let her scared of going out in public alone.

She said:

“I’m not a rude person, I just said ‘sorry I’m not interested.’”

“I think it was a jealousy, ego thing because I rejected him in front of his friends.”

“Girls feel like they can’t say ‘no.’ They feel like if they say ‘no’ then [men] might hurt you, and in this case, it was true.”

According to a police report, the man who punched the girl was described as white, about 5ft 8ins tall, and wearing a pink t-shirt.

Manchester City Council’s spokesperson, Pat Karney, said:

“I am horrified to hear about this horrific attack. We will check our CCTV system to see if we can identify the attacker.”

Cherie Buttle, the Chief inspector of GMP’s city center division, said:

“This was a violent and unprovoked attack upon a young woman who was simply minding her own business during a night out.”

“We are determined to find those responsible for this cowardly assault and would appeal to anyone who has information to come forward as soon as possible.”