A woman stabbed in the face in a Brighton nightclub by a stranger with a broken glass has spoken about her ordeal.
The 34-year-old victim, who asked not to be named, spoke after Salim Ali, 33, of Findon Road, Brighton, was jailed for six years for the unprovoked attack.
On Friday Ali, 33, was found guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm with intent after a five-day trial at Hove Crown Court.
He attacked his victim in Casablanca in Middle Street, Brighton, on Thursday 9 December last year just seconds after she had approached the bar.
He pushed a broken glass into her face, leaving deep wounds on her nose, chin and under each eye.
She needed 24 stitches.
The victim said: “The last memory I have is the glass coming towards my face.
“I instinctively covered my face with my hands and I could feel the blood on my hands as I took them away.
“The blood began to pour out and I was given tissue paper to hold against my face to cover my wounds.
“I was distraught. I thought there was glass in my eyes so I didn’t want to open them. I was terrified I was going to lose my sight.
“I didn’t understand his reaction. I kept asking my friends ‘why?’
“In the hospital I was just crying, not believing what had happened. That’s when shock set in. It was the worst pain of my life.
“My friends held my hands down when the doctors were treating me. It was a terribly traumatic experience.
“When I saw myself in the mirror I didn’t recognise myself.
“My eyes were sore and my face was painful and swollen. I thought that half my face was going to be destroyed by this man.
“I had a total of 24 stitches across my face and around the really delicate area around my eye and near my mouth, which meant that I couldn’t smile and eating was difficult.
“I was full of scars when I looked in the mirror, covered in dried blood.
“For the first two months I couldn’t believe it was me. I couldn’t accept what my face looked like. Even now I have a lump in my face where it’s not healed so well.
“It was very traumatic for my family. I told them over the phone what had happened to me but they hadn’t realised just how bad it was until they saw me.
“My mother couldn’t understand why this had happened.
“I was taking sleeping pills and anti-depressants and would hide behind a hat and scarf, covering my whole face.
“I was worried he would recognise me and know where I lived.
“I didn’t go out and had panic attacks.
“I was living in hell for months.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I would go to bed really late and get up really early. I lost my job because I couldn’t go to work in that condition.
“If I go out it’s with my friends, but I am still afraid to talk to people.”
When asked what she’d like to say to the man who attacked her, she said: “I would like to ask him: Are you proud of what you have done to me and my life?
“I would like to ask him if he was in the same situation as I’ve been in over the past months, how would he feel?
“What you have done brings consequences to my life, to your life.
“It’s not justified to hurt anyone and he has to be punished for what he has done.
“As frightened as I was, I knew I had to go to court to get justice and I would now encourage other victims of crime to come forward and act as witnesses.
“I would like to thank DC Dixon, Sheila from Victim Support and PC Alex Barrett who have been a great support to me. They really are wonderful people.”
Detective Constable Tracey Dixon, of Sussex Police, who led the police investigation, said: “The victim has shown immense bravery and courage since being viciously attacked in what can only be described as a senseless crime.
“Nothing will ever take away the trauma she has experienced, yet she is pleased with the sentence and is relieved that is is all over, hopeful that she will now be able to move on with her life now justice has been done.”