Independent reporter Jerome Taylor tells today how he was beaten up while investigating allegations of voting fraud in Bow, east London. He says the attack came after he explained to two teenagers that he was a journalist from the Independent looking to speak to a man at an address in the area, who was standing as a candidate in the local elections, about allegations of postal vote fraud. One of them asked to see his notebook. Taylor writes: "I declined and then the first punch came – landing straight on my nose, sending blood and tears streaming down my face. Then another. Then another. I tried to protect myself but a fresh crop of attackers – I guess between four and six – joined in. As they knocked me to the ground one of them brought a traffic cone repeatedly down on the back of my head. "As their fists and feet slammed into me, all I could think about was some advice a friend had given me. She's a paramedic and has dealt with countless victims of assault. "Whatever you do don't get knocked to the ground," she once said. "Blows on the floor are much more dangerous." It seemed faintly absurd now. "That's easy for you to say," I thought. "How on earth are you meant to stay up?" "I don't know how long it lasted – it was probably only a minute – but it was a long minute. I don't remember them saying anything as they did it. The first noise I was aware of was the beeping of a car horn and a woman screaming. The noise brought a man out of a nearby block of flats. With little regard for his own safety he waded in and defended me until my attackers ran away. "I shudder to think what would have happened if he hadn't been brave enough to take action and I cannot thank him enough for what he did. He gave me a bottle of water to wash the blood away and showed me a mobile phone that one of the attackers had dropped which he later handed to the police. He also maintained that he saw at least two of the attackers run into the candidate's house."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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