Cutting Edge: My Beautiful Face | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Cutting Edge: My Beautiful Face

Charlotte Lytton looks into Channel 4’s latest Cutting Edge documentary which looks at the heartache behind the horror of Katie Piper’s brutal attack… CHANNEL 4&#...

Charlotte Lytton looks into Channel 4's latest Cutting Edge documentary which looks at the heartache behind the horror of Katie Piper's brutal attack...

CHANNEL 4's thought-provoking Cutting Edge films continued with the story of Katie Piper, the victim of a brutal acid attack.

Pioneering reconstructive surgery was needed on her face, chest and arms after her ex-boyfriend paid an attacker to throw sulphuric acid over her, and the documentary highlighted her brave plight and road to recovery.

Forced to wear a pressure mask for 23 hours a day, and virtually unrecognisable from her former model self, Katie is undoubtedly faced with a huge mountain to climb. The subject of burns and disfigurement is one barely confronted by the media, so to see such a frank and honest programme on the matter made both interesting and educational viewing.

Not only does Katie have to bear the physical scars, but she is also forced to cope with the psychological ones that have inevitably affected her. Just days before the acid attack, she was raped by then-boyfriend Daniel Lynch, whom she had met through social networking site Facebook. Within weeks, their relationship had quickly turned sour, and Katie soon felt the full effect of his raging temper.

Previously a socialite living it up in a swanky London apartment, Katie now lives at home with her parents. The radical change she has had to go through is beyond comprehension for most of us, and the sheer number of operations she has gone through in order to rebuild her face is truly admirable.

Having already been under general anaesthetic over 30 times as a result of her injuries, no one can deny the utter horror and devastation it has caused.

Hailed as a miracle worker, Dr Jawad of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is the main figure credited with reconstructing Katie's face.

Grafting skin from her back to cover the burnt areas of her face, chest and arms, it is clear that extensive surgery has been done to get her to the point she is now.

However, with the sight entirely gone in her left eye and severe damage to her oesophagus after swallowing some of the acid, there are some things that surgery just can't correct.

A shadow of her former self, the documentary highlighted the uphill struggle Katie is faced with every day, battling to rebuild her confidence. Having hidden herself away from the outside world for a year, we were invited to watch her first attempt to reintegrate herself into society.

With Lynch now serving two life sentences and the paid attacker in prison for a minimum of twelve years, the endless threat and fear may be gone from her life, but her scars are a constant reminder of what was callously taken from her.


13th November 2009 at 6:15 am