ONLOOKERS ignored a young mum's pleas for help as she fought off a crazed knifeman.

Now police have issued a warning to other women in Radcliffe to be on their guard if they are out alone at night.

Caroline Mahon (24) was attacked as she headed home from work at the Asda store off Pilkington Way in the early hours of Wednesday (June 27).

As she crossed the Victoria Street footbridge she was approached by a man who asked for a light for a cigarette. He then demanded cash and after she refused he started slashing at her with a knife.

The blade cut her wrist and ripped open her cagoule but she bravely fought him off. As they struggled, Caroline begged for help from a group of people standing just yards away, but they ignored her pleas.

Detective Sergeant Duncan Heywood of Bury's Operational Police Unit said: "The woman was then forced to the ground and in defending herself she suffered a small cut to her wrist.

"Because she defended herself so well, the attacker ran off and the girl staggered to a nearby taxi firm to raise the alarm." Speaking exclusively to the Bury Times, Caroline's mum said that her daughter had been traumatised by the attack.

Mrs Mahon said: "I keep thinking to myself that I could have woken up to the news that I had lost one of my children. Caroline could have been killed.

"Caroline is very distressed and traumatised by what went on. She told me that a group of people were stood nearby but they ignored her screams and didn't offer any help.

"This maniac, who may have even been part of the group, must be caught. Caroline knows how to defend herself but an elderly man or woman would have been killed."

Police made a search of the area for the man who is described as white, chubby with long dark hair.

A warning has now been issued to women in the area to be on their guard until the offender is caught.

DS Heywood said: "This was a nasty and vicious attack. It could have been a lot worse if not for the woman's actions in fending off the man.

"In the meantime, we would advise women to avoid being out on their own at night and avoid using back streets and other vulnerable places."

Anyone who can help police with their inquiries into the attack should contact Whitefield CID on 856 8248.