What Lies Beneath

October 31, 2009

I watched a documentary called Katie: My Beautiful Face on Channel 4 this week. It’s the story of Katie Piper, a young woman who was a model and TV presenter. She met a man called Danny Lynch who turned out to be a wrong ‘un in the worst possible way. In the short time they were together, which was only a couple of weeks, he raped her at a hotel and days later orchestrated an acid attack, which left her with severe burns to her face, neck and hands.

The show followed her on her road to recovery, not only physically, but also mentally. It was difficult to watch as they showed her when she was first taken to hospital with a face totally stripped of skin. Thirty operations later, she has definitely improved physically but she has to wear a pressure mask for 23 hours a day, a lot of protective clothing on the burnt parts of her body and she has to eat differently because her throat has been damaged. Although the story was about her, the lives of the rest of her family have also been changed.

There were many moving moments. Her description of her reaction when she first saw her ‘new’ face, bought me to tears. When she found out while in France for a rehabilitation session that Lynch was found guilty of the rape, she cried uncontrollably and through her tears said that she had just woken up from her nightmare. That nearly finished me good and proper. Her thoughts on her face near the end of the documentary when she said it was a reminder that she ‘belongs’ to him, that the face she has now is the one created by him and that if she could shed that skin, she would was brutally honest. There were lighter moments too. The girl is funny. There was a nice bit of mother and daughter banter. “We could do Sudoku together.” Says mum. “I can’t, I’ve got one eye. That’s so cruel.” Katie retorted. Quick as a flash Mum came back with “But you can do lots of Internet shopping with one eye.”

There were many people who helped Katie in her recovery. The police in their pursuit of Lynch and his accomplice, Stefan Sylvestre to bring justice for Katie, her family and friends of course, but the man of the hour was Dr Mohammad Ali Jawal. He performed the pioneering surgery that saved her face. To think that the BNP would have people like him removed from this country if they ever got to power, the muppets. I believe he’s more deserving of a knighthood than the many fat cats whose contribution to this country has been to bring it to its knees due to their greed. The acid attack on Katie is rare in this country but it’s currently the weapon of choice in South Asia, perpetrated by men as punishment for those women who don’t toe the line. Danny Lynch is certainly part of that club.

It’s a particular brand of filth that gets someone else to do the dirty work. However there are stories all over the world of people who suffer at the hands of those who have lost their own humanity, but amazingly come through brighter and stronger with their humanity intact. No matter how dark the room, light always illuminates. Katie’s story is one of those lights.



  1. Thank you for that – I, too, saw the programme and like you was brought to tears on Katie’s reaction when she first saw her face after her acid attack; also when her father told her that Danny Lynch had been found guilty. The programme showed Katie to be a brave and determined and yet vulnerable young woman and it was a mixture of these that really touched me. I had read Katie’s story a week or so before the programme so partly knew what to expect. What also got to me was that Katie was about to give money to her attacker, believing him to be a beggar and that was her reward! Her parents touched me – they were extremely supportive and my heart went out to them both. I do agree with you regarding Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad who performed the pioneering surgery – you are right about the BNP – from the sublime to the ridiculous or rather the obnoxious!

  2. […] Face, a channel 4 doc about a young woman’s recovery from a vicious attack. I wrote about it in full on a previous posting, so I won’t say much more, other than it was brilliant. The other […]

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