Woman threatened for not wearing mask describes fear for safety

Wisbech woman threatened for not wearing mask

Jessie Lynn (left) was threatened after leaving Greggs in Wisbech without wearing a mask. Right: Jessie's sunflower badge to show she is exempt due to her conditions. - Credit: Jessie Lynn/PA

A woman who was chased and spat at after not wearing a face mask has described how she feared for her safety. 

Jessie Lynn of Wisbech was collecting her order from the town’s Greggs branch at the Horsefair Shopping Centre on April 9 with her partner. 

“I have a rare neurological brain condition, weak immune system, asthma, and I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Because of this, I don’t wear a face mask and I have a sunflower badge,” she said. 

“I remember two young lads came in. I was aware of this because the lady serving me said to them ‘you need to put a mask on’.” 

A comment was then made by one of the customer to a staff member questioning why she was allowed not to wear a mask. 

But once Jessie explained why she was exempt to the customer, he began to threaten her. 

“He said ‘do you know who I am’ and called me a b***h, so I spoke back explaining that I don’t care who he is, but I’m exempt from wearing a mask,” she said. 

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“He then made threats to hit me and my boyfriend. As we walked away, he came running towards my boyfriend and tried to punch him.” 

Jessie, who was diagnosed with intercranial hypertension six years ago, then ran towards a nearby Superdrug store for cover, before being spat at. 

“The screams from the staff and customers in Superdrug sent chills down my spine,” she recalled.  

“He spat at me and ran away. I spun round so quickly because I thought he’d pulled a knife or something.” 

Wisbech woman chased for not wearing mask

Jessie Lynn left Greggs in Wisbech before being questioned and then threatened after not wearing a face mask while in the shop. - Credit: Jessie Lynn

Cambridgeshire police said no arrests have been made and an investigation into the matter is ongoing. 

A spokesperson said: “We were called at 9.44am on April 9. 

“The suspect was described as white, with short dark curly hair, wearing tracksuit bottoms, and believed to be in his teenage years.” 

The spokesperson added: “We would appeal for information and ask people to contact us via web chat https://bit.ly/3vsiYDw or online at https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report quoting incident 108 of 9 April. 

“Anyone without internet access should call 101.” 

Both Greggs and Superdrug said they allow customers who are medically exempt to enter their shops without wearing face coverings, with the bakery chain unaware of any similar incidents. 

Jessie, who thanked both stores for their support, has previously received “snappy remarks” for not wearing a mask and calls for more understanding for those with hidden disabilities. 

“From my own experience, it makes me feel like I’m a criminal,” she said. 

“Sometimes I can’t cope with a piece of material over my face; it makes me feel sick and dizzy. 

“The world has been turned upside down by this virus, so let’s stop blaming and judging people and help each other.” 

Last year, a teenager was verbally abused at a Costa Coffee branch in Wisbech due to not wearing a face mask.

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