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'I couldn't believe what was going on. I was just really concerned for the children. They were hiding under my skirt, holding on to my legs and screaming my name. I was trying to hide them in the cupboards. I was desperately trying to open the door to get them out but I couldn't because my arm was such a mess. It must  have been the adrenaline that kept me going.'  

On 8 July, 1996, the children, parents and teachers of St Luke's Church of England Infants School in Blakenhall, Wolverhampton were enjoying a teddy-bears' picnic. Then suddenly Horrett Campbell, a thirty-three-year-old local man with paranoid schizophrenia, burst on the scene wielding a machete and the day turned into a nightmare.


After first slashing one of the mothers, Campbell jumped a small fence and attacked two more parents. Lisa Potts, a twenty-one-year-old nursery school teacher, grabbed a clutch of the smaller children and ran into the school building with them. There were eighteen children in her class, however, and she immediately turned back. By now Campbell was terrorizing the children still in the playground. Instinctively she raised her hand to shield a creaming little girl from Campbell's wildly swinging blade. The child’s face was cut and so was Lisa's hand. Tucking the girl under her arm, she ran back indoors.


Meanwhile Campbell had turned his mad fury on a little boy, cutting him across the head. Lisa returned to the playground three more times, rescuing the injured boy and the remaining children. Once they were all were safely inside, she secured classroom the door. But Campbell forced open the door open and continued his insane attack. In her desperately attempt to defend the children Lisa was slashed across the back: It was only when parents and other teachers rushed to the scene that Horrett Campbell ran off. He was later sent to a secure mental hospital where he remains to this day.


Three children and four adults suffered machete injuries. Lisa herself had a total of eleven lacerations to her scalp, back and arms. But thanks to her extraordinary, selfless courage that no one died. Although she was awarded the George Medal for her bravery, the compensation she received for her terrible injuries – both physical and psychological - was shamefully paltry.


Read the interview she gave ten years after the dramatic event.





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