A teenager has spoken of her distress after she was attacked on a bus after a night out.
Leah Walsh, 19, was travelling on the X41 through Rising Bridge when she was grabbed by the throat and hit by a fellow female passenger.
Leah, of Lower Darwen, was travelling back from a friend’s birthday party in Manchester and has said that the attack has left her feeling nervous about using public transport in future.
Leah, a transport administrator, said: “I smiled at a woman on the bus and she thought I was laughing at a disabled passenger who she had helped get off.
“I told her I wasn’t, but she started giving me loads of verbal abuse and was telling me to get off the bus. She then grabbed me by the throat and hit me in the face. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Leah added: “She got off at the next stop. Me and my friends were stunned, it ruined the whole night.
“I get the bus quite a lot but this whole experience has left me feeling really nervous about getting it again in future.”
The incident took place at around 12.50am on Sunday, November 1.
Police have released a CCTV image and would like to speak to the woman pictured in connection with the incident.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “A 19-year-old woman was travelling on the X41 bus service between Manchester and Blackburn when another female passenger became aggressive, threatening to fight her off the bus.
“The woman grabbed the 19-year-old by the throat and hit her across the face.
“The incident took place just before the Rising Bridge stop on the A680 Manchester Road which is where the offender left the bus with a man.”
The offender is described as white, in her late 30s, 5ft 5in tall, of slim build, with dark hair wearing a black leather jacket and black trousers.
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference numbers ED1514751 or ED1514720.
Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.