Mo Lea


In 1981 Mo was an art student walking home after planning her 21st birthday party with friends. She was walking through university grounds and was approached by a stranger. Sensing danger she started to run a way. She could hear footsteps behind her getting quicker and quicker, the pavement came up towards her and the next thing she remembered was waking up in an intensive care bed unable to lift her head.

She suffered a broken jaw, a fractured skull, fractured cheek bones, a deep cut over her left eye, two deep puncture wounds in the base of her neck that narrowly missed her spinal chord. She had many cuts and bruises to her head and body and a deep fracture on the top of her skull. She spent her 21st birthday on an operation table having her jaw wired back into place.

Despite these horrific injuries Mo returned to complete her degree and carried on with life pursuing her career in Art. Although she new deep down who her attacker was, she felt unable to talk about it until many years later. In 1993 the then Chief Constable Keith Hellawell of the West Yorkshire Police talked with her to confirm her fears.Since then Mo has endeavoured not to let the stigma of her near fatal attack by Peter Sutcliffe the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ get in the way of her life.

Now Mo is selling her art work to help those who have been affected by crime working with the charity Victim Support.

I believe that we are defined by what we give and not by what we receive.

Years ago I was the recipient of a brutal attack by the notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe. I was very lucky to survive. The kind acts of many people around me gave me the strength to move on and count my blessings. Sometimes I am caught out with frightening memories that are hard to handle. I have learnt to manage the trauma of the past by creating art in order to counteract the pain. I love to draw from nature, the process calms my mind and gives me a sense of well being. I now try to sell the art work that I make to raise funds for the charity ‘Victim Support’. Their motto is ’Find the Strength’. My friend, Brett Anthony’s attitude to his life embodies that saying in so many ways and more. I am very proud to be part of the ‘Facing your Limits’ campaign. It is a great privilege to be involved in a project that inspires people to move into action.

I think that this kind of giving is very empowering.