A woman who was strangled and sexually assaulted after being forced to down alcohol by her friend has revealed that, years after the attack, she still suffers with PTSD.
Jade Richardson, 18, from London felt ‘paralytic’ after sharing some drinks with Chelsea O’Neill, 22, in 2021 – and was then attacked for ‘nearly an hour’, feeling ‘too shocked to call for help’.
The assaulter had live-streamed parts of the violent incident on Instagram for hundreds to see, and left the teenager with horrific strangle marks as well as emotional trauma.
Now, Jade is waiving her right to anonymity to encourage other survivors to report their abusers to the police.
O’Neill was found guilty of sexual assault by penetration, sexual assault by touching and actual bodily harm and was sentenced to five years in prison at Wood Green Crown Court.
The pair met in 2018, when Jade was 14 years old, as O’Neill was friends with Jade’s girlfriend at the time and they often went on day trips together.
‘Sometimes when my girlfriend wasn’t around, Chelsea would flirt with me,’ the teen admitted. ‘If we went shopping together, she’d offer to buy me things.
‘It made me uncomfortable.’
In August 2019, Jade and her girlfriend split. Jade and O’Neill agreed to stay friends and continued to spend time together.
Just one week after the break-up, O’Neill asked Jade to be her girlfriend.
‘I told her I just wanted to be friends, but she seemed angry,’ she recalled.
Jade then moved away from the area and didn’t hear from O’Neill for months after.
It wasn’t until two years later, in 2021, that O’Neill contacted her on Instagram again.
‘I’d moved back to my hometown and had lost touch with old friends, so was happy when Chelsea reached out,’ Jade admitted.
‘We met up in town and I invited her to my dad’s house for a few nights later.’
They spent the evening together while her father was at work. The pair ordered a takeaway, listened to some music and enjoyed a couple of drinks – which O’Neill insisted she make, as she filled Jade’s glass full of vodka.
Soon enough, Jade started to feel ‘really drunk’ – while her friend was still sober – and by 7pm, as her father arrived back home, they decided to hang out in his bedroom.
O’Neill started filming Jade on Instagram, ordering her to down a shot of vodka.
She explained she already felt too drunk, and initially tried to turn the drink down, explaining: ‘I refused because I felt paralytic, but she then launched towards me and strangled me, before quickly letting go.’
Still filming, O’Neill then pinned Jade to the bed and strangled her again.
‘I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was going to die,’ she revealed. ‘With one hand still on my neck, Chelsea then unzipped my trousers and groped my privates.
‘I lay there, frozen, and was too shocked to call for help.’
After assaulting her for nearly an hour, O’Neill left – and Jade went to bed without telling her father what had happened.
She woke up in ‘excruciating’ pain and with horrific bruising on her neck – before confessing everything that happened to her father.
With his support, she called the police, and O’Neill was arrested after authorities took Jade’s statement.
O’Neill denied everything, instead claiming that Jade had attacked her.
‘I kept getting messages from strangers saying they’d seen the attack,’ she said.
‘Because it was live-streamed, it disappeared the moment Chelsea stopped filming.’
In January 2022, Jade met her now fiancé, Sion-Paul, 23, and he helped her recover from the attack.
But as the months went by, Jade suffered terrible nightmares.
‘I was traumatised,’ she admitted.
‘I barely left the house because everywhere I walked, I pictured Chelsea’s face.’
While the mental scars of her attacker still haunt her, Jade is proud of herself for bringing O’Neill to justice.
‘I’m sharing my story in the hope that others will find the strength to do the same,’ she added.
Last year, O’Neill went on trial at Wood Green Crown Court and Jade’s pre-recorded interview was shown as evidence.
After a three-week trial, O’Neill was found guilty of sexual assault by penetration, sexual assault by touching and actual bodily harm.
In January this year, she was sentenced to five years.
‘I was pleased with her sentence,’ Jade said. ‘Now, I’m hoping to re-build my life.
‘I want other survivors to know that justice is possible.’