A Croydon mum of two attacked by a mentally ill man as she walked to collect her children from school said she was "shocked" he was allowed to roam the streets.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, was walking along The Crescent in Selhurst at around 3pm last Tuesday.

The man grabbed her, punched her five times in the face and kicked her in her stomach. The distraught woman said she was "minding her own business" and listening to music while walking the route she normally takes to collect her children from Broadmead Junior and Broadmead Nursery schools.

She was left bruised and swollen and wondering why the man was allowed to walk the streets without any supervision.

"I'd seen him before and thought he was just waiting for his kids," she said. "As I walked past he touched my elbow and when I carried on walking he pulled me back. He said I hope you're happy and then punched me in the face."

The woman said the man called her Alison, not her real name, and flew into a rage.

"I said to him please stop, I'm going to collect my kids. He was crazy. I couldn't get away because he kept following me."

She added: "I was trying to stay upright because I thought if I go on the floor that's going to be the end of me. If someone hadn't come over he would have carried on."

Eventually a passerby came over, shouted at the man and called police.

"I was so upset because the man was still standing outside his house. His neighbour came out and told me he was always shouting and a man from the Brit School also said he had caused trouble in the school before," she said.

When police officers arrived the man was arrested and the victim later made a statement at home. She also visited the police doctor who assessed her injuries.

"The police told me he wouldn't be charged because he is mentally unstable," she said. "I just don't understand what he was doing on the street."

The 27-year-old man, was admitted to Bethlam Royal Hospital and sectioned for 28 days.

Since the attack the mum has been taking a longer route to her children's schools so to avoid walking past the man's house.

A Croydon Police spokeswoman said: "A 27-year-old man was arrested for actual bodily harm at the scene and taken to South Norwood police station. He is currently detained under the Mental Health Act at a south London hospital."