Rugby star Losi Filipo's victim living a nightmare after late-night punch

Kelsey Odell said she now suffers from debilitating panic attacks after being punched in the face by Losi Filipo. Photo / Supplied
Kelsey Odell said she now suffers from debilitating panic attacks after being punched in the face by Losi Filipo. Photo / Supplied

One of the women felled by a punch from a Wellington representative rugby player says her face is permanently scarred by the brutal attack and she's too scared to walk to her local shops.

Her comments come as a family group say they will appeal the decision to discharge Losi Filipo without conviction.

Kelsey Odell said she suffers debilitating panic attacks after being punched in the face by the teenage rugby star during an unprovoked night-time attack on a central Wellington street almost a year ago.

Filipo was charged with assaulting Odell, her boyfriend Hayden Williams, 22, Greg Morgan, 21, and Olivia Samuels, 22, last October. He was discharged without conviction two months ago.

Kelsey Odell said she was left with a permanent scar on her face. Photo / Supplied
Kelsey Odell said she was left with a permanent scar on her face. Photo / Supplied

The 22-year-old flight attendant said she now has a permanent scar on her face and was wary of bumping into Filipo anytime she left her home.

"I had never experienced anything like that in my life. It was honestly horrible. It's really scary now even just walking into Porirua."

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She was scathing of the sentence handed down to the aspiring professional rugby player, effectively allowing him to escape without punishment.

"He's suffered no consequences. He's not remorseful whatsoever. They say he's remorseful but he isn't."

Kelsey Odell just after the attack. Photo / Supplied
Kelsey Odell just after the attack. Photo / Supplied

Today a national family organisation weighed in saying it would be writing to the Solicitor General to appeal the sentence.

Odell said on the night of the attack the full-fisted single punch delivered by Filipo was so powerful she landed in a crumpled heap on the ground, blood pouring from her face.

At time she was yelling at him to stop attacking her male companions who were suffering at the hands of Filipo and his brother.

"We sprinted back screaming for them to stop and leave us alone. The next minute we saw Greg unconscious on the ground. I looked up and Losi was standing in front of me. He struck me on my chin with a full force punch and I fell to the ground. I had blood all over me dripping down on my clothes."

Odell didn't suffer broken bones but her face was swollen and she could not eat anything other than soft food. There were also fears she had suffered nerve damage in her teeth. She was off work for a week after the assault.

Now her face bears a permanent reminder of a night that, until crossing paths with Filipo and his brother, had been an evening filled with celebration.

"My scar's always going to be there."

Kelsey Odell feared she had suffered nerve damage in her teeth. Photo / Supplied
Kelsey Odell feared she had suffered nerve damage in her teeth. Photo / Supplied

Shockingly, Odell and her friends were just three minutes walk from where they had arranged to be picked up and taken home.

Now she was prone to panic attacks sparked by chance meetings of Filipo in Porirua and central Wellington.

On one occasion she was so traumatised she dropped to her knees, gasping for air.

Kelsey said on the night of the attack the full-fisted single punch delivered by Filipo was so powerful she landed in a crumpled heap on the ground, blood pouring from her face. Photo / supplied
Kelsey said on the night of the attack the full-fisted single punch delivered by Filipo was so powerful she landed in a crumpled heap on the ground, blood pouring from her face. Photo / supplied

Although work commitments prevented her from taking part in Friday's protest march, she said Wellington Rugby had made a "poor decision" to stand by Filipo. She was overwhelmed by the public support.

"It's been so amazing to see how many people are behind us," said a grateful Odell.

Family First national director Bob McCroskrie said the sentence set a dangerous precedent and undermined a community resolve to stamp out violence.

"This case involved significant violence towards both males and females. To be discharged without conviction is insulting and pathetic, and communicates that punishments and consequences will be determined by who you are rather than what you did," said McCoskrie.

- NZ Herald

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