Roxiey Grinnell, 21, Worcestershire speaks about that terrible night...
Drinking and chatting to friends – it was the perfect weekend.
It was March 2013, and I’d invited a few mates round to my one-bed flat in Evesham.
‘Is it alright if my mate comes, too?’ one of my friends had asked earlier in the day.
I knew which friend he was talking about – a Portuguese guy called Francisco Batista. I’d seen him around town and he was always smiling. He seemed like a nice-enough lad. And, although I hardly knew him, we were Facebook friends.
‘The more the merrier,’ I said.
By 7pm, the six of us were chatting in my living room. I was drinking cider, while Francisco and the other guys were enjoying beers.
Soon, I was dancing to club classics being played on the radio. As the night went on, most of us were a little tipsy. Francisco, too.
But one minute he seemed fine, the next he switched. Out of nowhere, unprovoked, he picked up my uplighter lamp and started walking around the living room with it.
‘Hey!’ I said to him. ‘Stop messing around.’
I thought he was being immature and disrespectful. But he didn’t stop. He broke the lamp stand.
I was annoyed, but didn’t want to cause a scene, just hoped he’d leave it at that.
Shortly after, my mate asked if she could go to my room for a bit.
‘It’s too rowdy in here,’ she said.
Minutes later, she came out of the bedroom looking flustered.
‘Francisco just threw me on the bed,’ she told me.
‘He what?!’ I said, raging. How dare he do that to my friend?
‘Please leave,’ I told Francisco.
His behaviour had escalated so quickly, I didn’t want things to get out of hand.
Except, he didn’t budge.
‘Get out,’ I said, shoving him towards the front door.
Suddenly, he flipped. He grabbed me and pushed me to the floor in the hallway of my flat.
Shocked, I tried to grapple with the wall to get myself back on my feet.
There was no time. Glaring at me, saying nothing, Francisco stamped on my face with his trainer-clad foot. Like he was trying to pop a balloon.
Then he legged it.
My friends rushed to my aid as I picked myself up. ‘Are you OK?’ they asked. ‘I think so,’ I said.
I was absolutely livid Francisco had attacked me like that, especially after I’d invited him into my home.
Upset, I asked my friends to leave, then told the police.
Afterwards, I had a heavy nosebleed, but I didn’t think I was injured so I went to bed.
The following morning,I gasped on seeing my reflection.
Francisco’s footprint was stamped across my forehead near my left eye. My whole face was swollen, too.
I’d rung my mum Sue, 50, following the attack. Concerned, she came over that morning.
‘I wanted to check on you. I’m glad I did,’ she said, shocked.
Mum insisted we go to the doctor, as I’d a terrible headache. He said I was fine, but for the next two days I slept constantly.
‘We’re going to A&E,’ Mum fretted.
There, an X-ray and CT scan revealed shocking news…
‘Your skull’s fractured,’ the doctor said, explaining that if I’d been kicked or punched again I could’ve been left with brain damage. Or worse.
In May 2013, I had a two-hour op, where my head was cut from ear-to-ear by my hairline, and my skin peeled back. Using a wire mesh to hold it in place, surgeons realigned my skull.
Two days later, I was discharged, but my forehead still looked an odd shape. I suffered nerve damage, too, and lost the sense of smell in my right nostril.
Meanwhile, a warrant was out for Batista’s arrest, but he’d fled the UK.
I was still having terrible headaches and had to leave my supermarket job, as
I panicked if anyone approached me. I didn’t go out any more unless I knew everyone there. I was scared of strangers, drunk people and was very jumpy. Distraught, I wanted Francisco Batista punished.
Finally, early this year, he was arrested after an officer who’d worked on the case spotted him in Evesham High Street. He’d been in the Netherlands for three years.
I was so relieved.
This August, at Worcester Crown Court, Francisco Batista, 23, admitted grievous bodily harm.
I didn’t go, but officers told me he’d also admitted to an unrelated burglary at a laundrette, stealing £600 and damaging six machines.
He was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison.
‘He’s never once said sorry,’ I fumed.
Still, I was pleased he was behind bars, where he belonged.
‘Hopefully he’ll change his ways,’ I said to Mum.
Now I’ve moved away from the area. I’m still living with the consequences of Francisco Batista’s actions, but I’m determined to get on with my life. I won’t let that scumbag win.