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Transgender Connie, 21, was horrifically attacked by her new flatmate just because she wanted to be a woman. helps hundreds of people share their story with the world.  This week, brave Connie shared her harrowing story about having a quarter of her skull removed after being attacked with a hammer.  Connie’s flatmate had discovered she was transgender before unleashing an astonishing hate attack on her.


I was woken up by blinding lights and the impatient beeping of what sounded like hundreds of machines. ‘Where was I?’

I tried to sit up straight, but my body wouldn’t move – I looked down and arms were strung with wires and needles. I was dreaming, of course I was. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t have been…

The last thing I remember was taking my make up off before slipping into my pyjamas. Suddenly, I felt it – the excruciating pain in my head. I noticed the blurry outlines of my family by my bedside ­ they looked pale, tinged with green and sickly looking. They were staring at my head.

CONNIE HUNTLEY“Connie, you’ve been in an accident. You know that, don’t you?”

‘An accident? Where? With who? I can just about remember settling under my duvet to watch a film.’

Opening my mouth to ask them what was wrong, all I could do was grunt. Shocked, my hands flew to my mouth. ‘What had happened to me? Why couldn’t I speak?’

I tentatively reached up to massage a stabbing pain in my forehead, and vomit rose to my throat. All I could feel was a bundle of blood­soaked bandages.

“Your flatmate Joseph attacked you Connie,” a doctor said – he sounded like he was miles away.

“We had to remove a quarter of your skull as there was a hammer embedded in your brain. The hammer smashed your skull with such force that you have been in a coma for nearly four weeks.”

It was as if time had stopped dead. My flatmate and I hadn’t even had an argument over the dishes, nevermind hated each other – and I’d only moved in the week before!

My eyes filling with tears, I remembered first meeting him and thinking that he seemed nice. He was kind enough to let me have the spare room in his flat. He was a religious man who talked often about his depression and hardships. But he was friendly and funny – so we got on like a house on fire.

To think that I was actually looking forward to spending some quality time with him – and now he’d made me spend four weeks on the brink of death in a coma.

In hysterics I ripped the bandages off, my hands slapped at my hideous bald head – lumpy and lopsided. I was more upset that I had lost the beautiful hair that I’d nurtured and grown for years – not feeling my wispy bob on my shoulders again made me cry even harder.

When I’d calmed down, my doctor handed me an x­ray of what looked like was straight from the set of a horror movie. It was a stark black and white image of a ghostly skeleton – with a metal hammer sticking out of its head.CONNIE HUNTLEY ‘Was that me?’

The hammer was as big as my skull, and its head that pounded nails was directly behind my right eye. It was sticking out of my head at a jaunty angle, like someone had stood right above my head and smashed it down with force.

‘He must have crept in on me while I was sleeping…’

Knowing that I’d slept in a house with someone who wanted to kill me made me feel physically sick, and so unsafe. I couldn’t stop crying ­ why would anyone want to do this to a complete stranger? He hardly knew me!

There were so many questions that needed answers, but I couldn’t talk. Or even walk.

I was told that the hammer had smashed my skull and got stuck deep in my brain, but I was lucky that I still had my sight.

When I was unconscious, I’d had two operations – one to remove the hammer, and a tracheotomy to make sure that I didn’t suffocate.

It also meant that the missing part of my skull had been replaced with acrylic, to make sure that my head didn’t cave in. To think that my life could have ended at just the age of 18 was terrifying.

The thing that terrified me the most was that the surgeon had thought I was dead when I arrived on the operating table. I’d been found in a vast pool of blood by the police after they stormed the flat – weirdly enough, Joseph had called them himself.

“The police don’t know why he did this to you Connie,” my doctor said. “But we think it’s because he found out you were a man, living as a woman. It most likely went against his cultural beliefs or religion.”

CONNIE HUNTLEYAs a cross­dresser I identified as a woman – so I had met Joseph as Connie, not as Connor. The boy I was born as.

I wore make­up, matching pink tracksuits and had a short, feminine bob. I’d known since I was 14 years old when I first came out as gay that I still didn’t feel right.

‘Maybe he came into my room to check up on me, and saw the men’s boxers strewn across the floor. He must have just had a blind panic…’

At first, I felt disgusted at myself – I felt ashamed. He had wanted to hurt me just because I was born into the wrong body.

Men’s clothes didn’t feel right, or tight enough – and I hated the way they didn’t match or feel silky to touch. I was attacked and nearly got killed because I was wearing make­up and dressing the way I wanted, but it made me stronger. Now, I wanted my full sex change. But not until I spent nine and a half months in intensive care.

My head was stapled and sewn, yet I could still feel a deep ache from where I had been attacked. The jagged bone from the gap in my broken skull poked at my skin when I slept, and made me incredibly self­conscious. I lost all feeling of self­worth and self­respect, these scars were a sign of what I tried to leave behind – the body that I had hated.

I felt so unsexy with half a head – what man would love me, or even want me?CONNIE HUNTLEY

Where multiple sexual partners whispered sweet nothings in my ear, I couldn’t fully let go of how much the trauma had ruined the vision of myself.

I didn’t, and couldn’t love myself – it wasn’t until Joseph Olousegun Williams was sentenced to 19 years in a mental institution that I started to love myself.

In ten years time he has to prove elements of sanity to the world – but still may never get out. It was like waking up on an entire new planet when I knew he was finally convicted, everything around me stopped and my body felt numb.

I started seeing my scars as a symbol of bravery, although I’m embarrassed by them, I can try and hide them with pretty hairstyles or make up. Everyday I think ‘what if’ as he has still ruined my life.

Every time I lay my head back onto my pillow, I could see ghostly images of skulls and I had visions of hammers swinging towards my face. It was like my terrifying X­ray had been tattooed onto my eyelids – there was no way of forgetting it.

I can’t be aloCONNIE HUNTLEYne anymore, or if I’m alone in my flat the door needs to be bolted tight. My face will never be the same, my confidence will never be the same – and I find it hard to trust in men who do take an interest in me.

I still don’t forgive Joseph for changing my future, but I’m beginning to love myself more. Now I am classed as disabled, it’s going to be hard for me to travel the world like I’d always dreamed of – or even hold down a job.

Still, my dream is to own my very own business in events planning, to prove that despite the horror that I’ve been through – I am still entirely human.

The only thing that affects me now is the fact that I have a dent in the front of my face – I will get it fixed but it will cost me up to £5,000.

I’m hoping that my sex change will make me feel more accepted, despite having a lumpy forehead. I’ve identified as a woman for as long as I can remember, but I’ll have to stay on hormones for a few years before I have a full transformation.

In a way I thank him for what he did, as it made me make the definite decision that this was what I wanted to do with my body.

We helped Connie sell her story exclusively to Pick Me Up Magazine, who outbid rival magazines for the rights to print Connie’s story.  If you would like to raise awareness about your story, or raise money for a cause, and would like us to auction your story to the highest bidding magazine, get in touch using the story valuation form on this page.

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