Liam Love, 27, from Grimsby explains how a random pub attack destroyed his life...
Time for a quick pint, I thought, nipping into a pub in Grimsby.
It was about 2.30pm on 15 December last year, and I’d just finished my shift as a truck driver.
I drank my pint, went into the beer garden for a cigarette.
‘Alright, mate?’ a guy said. He introduced himself as Danny, and we chatted as we smoked.
Pleasant enough, back inside we carried on talking.
Then he asked me for drugs.
‘I can’t help, mate,’ I replied, not into that sort of thing.
About half an hour later, I was back in the garden again when he came out looking angry and accused me of owing him £200!
‘What?’ I said, confused.
Suddenly, he flipped.
Lurching towards me, he sank his teeth into my nose.
I started screaming, trying to push him off.
Then one of the regulars ran out to help, managed to get Danny off me.
As he fled, I looked down to see blood everywhere.
Two police officers raced in.
‘I was just minding my own business and he bit my nose,’ I said, blood gushing.
Soon paramedics arrived, loaded me into an ambulance.
Meanwhile, the officers retrieved the part of my nose that’d been bitten off, storing it in ice, and I was raced to the local hospital.
All I could think about was my children aged 5, 4 and 2, who I saw every weekend.
‘I can’t let the kids see me with part of my nose missing,’ I cried.
At hospital, I was immediately transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary for surgery to try to reattach my nose.
‘We need to operate quickly,’ doctors there said.
As I waited, I took pictures of my nose on my phone. I was horrified.
In theatre, surgeons tried to reattach the piece of flesh that’d been bitten off.
After, I looked in the mirror and saw a lump of yellow padding in my nose.
‘Unfortunately, we couldn’t reattach it,’ the surgeon explained. ‘The tissue was too badly damaged.’
I listened as they told me I’d need another operation to take skin from my forehead to fold over my nose. Then to take cartilage from my right ear to build a new bridge.
I rang my brother Lee, 30.
‘Please don’t bring Mum to hospital,’ I begged. ‘I don’t want her to see me.’
But, next morning, when I was discharged, Lee and my mum arrived to collect me.
Mum burst into tears.
The police took my statement and were brilliant.
A couple of days later, Daniel Skinner was arrested.
Then I was back in hospital having my nose rebuilt
Afterwards, I didn’t feel human. Big, angry red stitches snaked from my nose to the top of my forehead.
Doctors reassured me that the scars would fade, but I couldn’t imagine ever looking normal again.
All I could do was try to get on with my life. But I was a different person.
It was over a month before I let the kids see me.
It was pure chance I was at my cousin’s one day when I got talking to my old schoolmate Nicci Johnson. Amazingly, she wasn’t put off by my looks.
In April this year, we became an item, and she was by my side on 12 June, when Daniel Skinner, 32, appeared at Grimsby Crown Court charged with GBH.
He admitted a lesser offence of wounding/inflicting GBH, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and given a five-year restraining order banning him from the pub.
I’ll never know why he attacked me, but with the time he’s served on remand, he’ll be out in a few months.
As far as I’m concerned, his sentence is a complete joke.
I can’t thank my surgeons and the police officers who helped me enough. But the attack haunts me.
I can’t look in the mirror, I’ve stopped working, and am still on medication for depression.
Now I’m waiting for surgery to reduce the bulbous lump at the end of my nose.
The only good thing that’s come of this is Nicci.
With her support, I’m determined to get my life back.