A CREDITON shop worker has spoken of her shock after she was allegedly assaulted outside the shop.

Kate Hurst (51), the assistant manager at ReFurnish on Mill Street, Crediton, said she was pushed to the ground in the shop’s car park by an abusive woman and she broke her finger.

Kate explained that it happened at about 2.30pm last Friday (February 9) and had just got back from lunch.

She said that the woman was first seen outside the shop having a “tantrum” before entering the shop.

Kate said that things escalated and that there was a lot of shouting of obscenities by the woman.

She said that when she was asked to leave because of the very loud obscenities, she had become much more animated until she was near a side door when she grabbed Kate by the hair and dragged her across the car park.

Kate was pushed to the ground and during this it is believed was when she broke Kate’s finger.

A colleague restrained the woman and other colleagues were on the telephone to the police.

ReFurnish Shop in Mill Street, Crediton.  AQ 5763
ReFurnish Shop in Mill Street, Crediton. AQ 5763 (Alan Quick, Crediton Courier)

Kate said that the woman then re-entered the shop before leaving and entering the nearby Morrisons store.

Kate explained: “The police arrived within 10 minutes and were very helpful.

“They then went to arrest the woman in Morrisons.”

She added: “It was a bit of shock.  You don’t expect to be assaulted at work.

“I have not been physically assaulted before, most customers are really nice people and we enjoy helping them.

“I rang my partner and he came and took me to Accident and Emergency at the hospital.

“I suffer with two brain aneurysms and so I have to be careful.

“It was only during an x-ray that it was discovered that I had a broken finger.”

In the shop, Kate said that she had been concerned about volunteers, colleagues and shoppers when the woman was inside.

Kate, who has worked at the shop for eight years, said that while she was shaken up by the incident, she would continue with her job.

“We are here to help people,” she added.

ReFurnish Crediton manager Gavin Johnson-Ducie, closed the shop for the rest of the day of the incident and Kate also took another day off to recover from the incident.

He said that ReFurnish is looking into accredited courses to equip staff with skills to deal with such situations, how to recognise the signs and give the breakaway techniques.

ReFurnish has a number of shops across the county.  The charity sells affordable furniture, appliances and other household goods, clothing and other items, at affordable prices which is particularly helpful to those on a low income.

Police confirmed that a 53-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assault.

It is believed that the woman was also arrested on suspicion of assault of police officers.

She has since been released on police bail.

The police investigation has involved statements being taken from all concerned and is ongoing.