UK
09/05/2014 08:50 BST | Updated 09/05/2014 08:59 BST

Bullied Blind Woman Siobhan Meade Catches Abusers With Hidden Body Camera

Walking with her guide dog through Stevenage, Siobhan Meade was a target for abuse, with youths swearing at her, circling her as she passed by, and even threatening to mug her to "see how much she can really see".

Unable to identify her abusers to police, Meade took desperate measures to stop the hate that she said "nearly destroyed" her life. She began to wear a body camera to film her abuse and shame the yobs.

Meade, who has been blind since the age of 16, handed the footage of the culprits to police. After a sharp word from officers, the abuse stopped, she said.

siobhan meade

Siobhan Meade secretly filmed the yobs who abused her for her disability

The abuse had "ranged from being sworn at in the street, young people circling me and deliberately walking me into lampposts and nearly being mugged," Meade told the BBC.

"They actually said 'let's mug her and see how much she can see'. I was horrified. It was extremely distressing and it nearly destroyed me as a person. It was intimidating beyond belief."

Covert filming was "the only way I was going to be able to gather evidence," she added.

"The police had been so supportive and given me lots of reassurance, so when I took the footage to them they were able to deal with it," she said.

Meade, a columnist for her local paper, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the treatment of people with disabilities, and plans to go into schools across Hertfordshire.

“I would like to do role-play using simspecs [which mimic eye conditions] so people can get an idea of how scary being blind can be. The issue needs to be dealt with in a positive way," she told her local paper The Comet.

According to Home Office figures, from 2012- 13, the police recorded 1,841 disability hate crimes, a 5% increase from the previous year. A third of those involved a violent attack on a disabled person.