An autistic woman who was so badly beaten as a teenager that
she had to take 10 months off school has revealed how she’s
turned her life around. 

Sophie Bole, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, says she’s even
grateful to the nine attackers who left her so badly injured
that she required a lengthy stay in hospital – because her life
is better as a result of what happened. 

Bole, now 21, has Asperger’s Syndrome and was just 15 when she
was viciously attacked on her way home from school in February
2011. 

She said the incident ‘ripped her family to bits’ and that she
feared she would never be happy again, but more than six years
on, the now married mum of one says she has the bullies to
thank for her strength.  

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Sophie Bole, now 21, suffered a broken nose and a shattered face alongside internal bruising when she was beaten up by bullies while walking home from school in 2011 

Sophie Bole, now 21, suffered a broken nose and a shattered
face alongside internal bruising when she was beaten up by
bullies while walking home from school in 2011 

Bole, then Sophie Russell, saw her nine attackers merely cautioned for the attack, which left her needed to take ten months off school and suffering with PTSD

Bole, then Sophie Russell, saw her nine attackers merely
cautioned for the attack, which left her needed to take ten
months off school and suffering with PTSD

Happier than ever: Bole, now married to husband Dave and living with their daughter on Cyprus, says the actually attack transformed her life for the better

Happier than ever: Bole, now married to husband Dave and
living with their daughter on Cyprus, says the actually
attack transformed her life for the better

Alongside her physical injuries – a broken nose, shattered face
and internal bruising – she also suffered severe panic attacks
and was forced to move to a new school in nearby Lincoln.

However, now living in Cyprus with her husband Dave and their
two-year-old daughter, the 21-year-old says she’s rebuilt her
life and has never been happier. 

Now represented by a New York modelling agency, Bole has worked for BMW since becoming a model

Now represented by a New York modelling agency, Bole has
worked for BMW since becoming a model

The stunning 21-year-old says her life began to improve when she was asked to be an Olympic torch bearer at London 2012

The stunning 21-year-old says her life began to improve when
she was asked to be an Olympic torch bearer at London 2012

Grateful: Sophie says bravely that she wouldn't have become such a strong person if she hadn't suffered the attack

Grateful: Sophie says bravely that she wouldn’t have become
such a strong person if she hadn’t suffered the attack

At the time of the attack, Sophie, then known as Sophie
Russell, said: ‘What I went through was really traumatic and
ripped the family to bits. 

‘I was just walking to my boyfriend’s house and wasn’t
expecting to be attacked.’

After meeting her husband Dave at a modified car event in
Lincoln, Sophie moved to Cyprus to be with him.

I still thank them [the attackers] for it because without
them I wouldn’t have become such a strong person…

She says: ‘I’m 21 now and I was 15 when the attack
happened. I honestly never thought I’d be happy again but with
my husband and daughter I feel my life is now in a place I
never thought it would be.’

She adds: ‘I still thank them [the attackers] for it because
without them I wouldn’t have become such a strong
person.’ 

Regularly jet-setting between Cyprus and the States and Italy
for modelling assignments, Bole says she no longer wastes time
thinking about the events of February 2011.

Bole hasn’t seen any of her attackers in the years since but
she’s heard some of them now also have children: ‘I believe
that they have children too now, so maybe one day they will
look back and realise what they did was a mistake.’ 

Sophie Bole pictured as a teenager; no charges were pressed against her attackers in the aftermath of the attack

Sophie Bole pictured as a teenager; no charges were pressed
against her attackers in the aftermath of the attack

Her nine attackers were given a police caution for common
assault, but no charges were pressed. 

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said the case was passed to the
Youth Offending Team who decided not to press charges but to
give a caution for common assault. 

She says she carried a rape alarm for nearly two years after
her attack, and urges young teens being bullied not to
underestimate how the threat peers can pose.

Bole urges: ‘I had a feeling my attack was coming but I thought
I was being stupid and I never imagined it to be as bad as it
was. 

‘Tell someone and be heard. Tell anybody who will listen – and
also have someone on speed dial.’

Her Asperger’s is, she adds, ‘usually well controlled
day-to-day’ and says that the modelling ‘is helping no end’, as
is being a mother. 

‘Believe it or not having children [has helped] – toddlers
actually have a calming effect.’