A man left with scarring across his face after being ‘bottled’ outside a Leeds pub says he has not been out drinking again in the city since – more than two years after the attack.
The 21-year-old had been enjoying a family birthday party when a fight started elsewhere in the pub and he was attacked after trying to protect another man who was being kicked on the floor.
Two years on, he is now hoping to secure damages as his case has been taken on by city-based law firm Hudgell Solicitors, specialists who submit Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) claims for hundreds of people injured as a result of criminal acts each year.
The man, who has asked not to be named, says he is hoping the legal case will finally help him draw a line under a night which had started out as a celebration, but ended up completely changing his outlook on life.
“It has really affected me and it’s changed my life so much. I’m paranoid when people are behind me now and I can’t go into busy places because I become too nervous,” he said.
“I’ve been left with two scars above my eye near my eyebrow, one in the corner of my eye and a large scar on my cheek where the glass bottle went straight through. When I went to college afterwards I thought everyone was staring at me. I used to speak to everyone, but now I keep myself to myself. I’m really self-conscious.
“I haven’t been back to the pub where it happened since and I haven’t even been out for a drink since then. I just have a drink at home now. I’m 21 and I daren’t go into town just in case it happens again. Even if I’m shopping with my girlfriend, I have my hood up because I’m so paranoid.”
The attacked happened at about 10.30pm on October 11th, 2015, when the man had been with friends and family.
Victim was fortunate not to lose sight in one eye
Having suddenly become aware of trouble in another section of the pub, the man says he went outside at first to be away from the incident, only to see another man on the floor outside being kicked by a number of people.
“To me the chap on the floor looked unconscious and I just felt I had to do something,” he said.
“I told them to leave him and one of them turned to me and tried swinging, so I moved back. As I moved, I was bottled to the right side of my face by a different guy.
“I must have blacked out but once I hit the floor I woke myself up again. I got away as quickly as I could and I gave my phone to someone I knew from school who called my dad, as I could hardly speak.
“My cheek was completely cut and you could put your finger into my mouth, so there was a hole in my face. I was taken into the ambulance and to the hospital where I had to wait for a specialist to stitch my face. They said if it had been any closer to my eye, I would have lost my sight on one side.”
Looking back on the night, the man says has often thought about how events unfolded.
“I don’t have a clue why it happened and I was just out enjoying a drink. I’d only had one beer and I didn’t see it coming at all. I was just looking forward to a nice night. I was caught completely off guard and it came from nowhere. I still can’t believe it happened. There was no reason for it to happen to me. It came completely out of the blue.
“I was working as a landscaper at the time this all happened but I had to stop in case my cuts were infected. I was off work for about a month-and-a-half, then I went back for a week, but if it was busy I started panicking. I’m hoping to go to building college to train as an electrician or a joiner.”
Legal claim will seek damages for physical injuries and loss of earnings
Victoria Neale, of Hudgell Solicitors in Leeds, said a claim to the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme, which supports thousands of victims to secure criminal injury compensation, will seek to secure damages for the physical and psychological injuries the man suffered.
She said: “Sadly we see many cases similar to this where innocent people suffer serious injuries as the result of the crim
inal actions of others. Often it can be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and in this case our client has suffered long-term psychologically, and still bears the scars from the attack on his face today.
“We know compensation can never undo what has happened, but it is only right that blameless victims of violent crime are compensated for the impact it has on their lives.
“By making representations to this Government scheme we do have excellent success in securing the maximum damages which can help cover loss of earnings, and in other cases cover remedial treatment or short and long-term care.”