Katie:Still a beautiful face

29 Mar

I very rarely cry at television documentaries, but when I watch “Katie: My Beautiful Face” on channel 4, it really hit me hard.

Katie Piper was a stunning television presenter/model enjoying a vibrant social life clubbing several times a week, until the age of 24 when an ex boyfriend changed her life forever.

Katie met Daniel Lynch (or Danny as Katie calls him) on Facebook and they dated for two intensive weeks. Danny became very possessive over Katie and his sporadic moods started to scare Katie. Little did she know that Danny had a history of violent behaviour, including throwing boiling water in a man’s face.

One night, his intensity came to a head when he booked them a hotel room to stay in together. When Katie did not agree to sex with him, he violently raped herbefore holding her captive for eight hellish hours. He smashed her head, beat her, threatened to slash her face with a razor and said he would hang her with a belt. Later he claimed to have been high on steroids. They drove back to Katie’s flat where, to her relief, he agreed to let her out of the car but told her if she told anyone, he would kill her.

They spent the weekend apart and Katie did not tell anyone what happened, not even the doctors who had to glue her head wound. He contacted her continuously, and on Monday he started insisting that she go to the internet cafe to check the emails he’d sent her, after hours of refusal, Katie gave in and left her apartment to check her emails.

CCTV shows Katie leave her apartment whilst still on the phone to Danny.

‘I saw a man in a hooded top walking towards me,’ she says. ‘He was carrying a cup. I assumed he was a beggar so I reached into my bag for some change. He came up close, like he was going to speak, and threw liquid from the cup at my face. The pain was indescribable, but for a split second I remember thinking, “How rude to throw coffee when I was trying to help him.” I could feel my skin and clothes burning off me.’

All Katie’s facial skin and fat was burned off on one side of her face, her left eye was no longer working and her throat was badly burnt. Katie was put into an induced coma and all the skin from her face was removed and replaced with skin from her back.

Diane, her mother, gave up her job in order to care for Katie full-time. She massages Katie’s face four times a day to keep her skin supple. This sounds like a relaxing procedure, but I found it extremely hard to watch as Katie’s parents stretched the skin around her face and chest, as Katie lay there looking extremely uncomfortable.

Katie also has to wear plastic masks in the day to flatten her scars and a balaclava masks at night to help stretch the skin. To begin with, she had to be fed with a tube directly into her stomach before having several surgical interventions to widen her oesophagus.

The psychological damage was even more upsetting to see. She could not shower for months, due to her fear of the feeling of liquid on her body. She also was too scared to leave the house, making her life seam pointless.

When Katie is shown receiving a phonecall and discovering that Danny has finally been found guilty, she is overwhelmed with happiness…and so was I! Later in the programme, they discover that he has been given a life sentence, with a minimum of 16 years, which still does not seem enough in my eyes. But Katie still has nightmares and fears Lynch’s release. When he obtained a phone illegally in jail he used it to post a message on the internet saying how much he missed her. She has now closed all of her social networking accounts.

Since the documentary was aired, Katie has given messages on the channel 4 website, thanking all those who have sent her supportive messages. “When you have support you can get through anything and to have such wonderful public support really is such an amazing feeling and I am very grateful…At the weekend, after the documentary was shown on Channel 4, I went out for dinner and also went shopping. Lots of people approached me and congratulated me and I felt proud and held my head high while out and about in public. I couldn’t feel like this without all this support, so thank you everybody for giving me my confidence back“.

Katie’s second documentary “Katie:My Beautiful Friends”, shows Katie’s new found confidence since the first documentary was aired. She is starting up a new charity The Katie Piper Foundation, to raise money for a specialist rehabilitation centre for people with facial disfigurements.

I genuinly still think that Katie Piper looks beautiful and her story moves me, even just thinking about it, I hope she has a more fullfilling life than she ever could have had before, because she truly deserves it.

“I realise my life before was so superficial” Katie said in a Daily Mail interview, “I used to refuse to go out if I had a spot on my face. Now I wish a spot was all I had to worry about. There are people who point and stare. One man even knocked my sun hat off and laughed at me. Those times hurt, but I won’t let them get me down. I’d like to be able to have a husband and family one day. I can’t live a life of regret.”

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One Response to “Katie:Still a beautiful face”

  1. cctv March 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    16 years minimum definitely does not seem just. Thank you for sharing this story.

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