Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

BATTERED FOR REFUSING A TAB; Victim's Shattered Face Held Together by Screws

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

BATTERED FOR REFUSING A TAB; Victim's Shattered Face Held Together by Screws

Article excerpt

Byline: By ALASTAIR CRAIG

THIS is the face of vicious Tyneside today, a man battered for refusing a stranger a cigarette.

Andrew Pratt, aged 26, paid the agonising price of saying no and had his face shattered in five places in the attack outside a Tyneside pub.

His eye socket and cheek are now held together by screws and metal plates after a single punch caved in the right side of his head.

A quiet drink with his brother Kevin, aged 21, at the Newton Park Hotel in Heaton, Newcastle, ended with 20 stitches and a two-hour operation to piece together his smashed bones.

Andrew had stepped outside the bar for a smoke at 11pm when the thug approached him demanding a cigarette.

When the carpet salesman told his attacker he only had two left, he was violently assaulted.

"He went off it," said Andrew, of North Tyneside, who has to have more treatment after the attack which happened on August 3. "I'd gone out of the pub with my brother because of the smoking ban.

"I'd noticed this bloke in the pub who was looking to cause trouble. Part of the reason we went outside was to get away from the bother. He looked like he was going to kick off.

"The guy followed us out and said he wanted one of my tabs. I only had a couple left so I said I couldn't give him one. He started screaming at me and swearing.

"I didn't even see it coming. One minute I was having a cigarette, the next I woke up in the pub with an ice pack. I don't remember a thing."

Staff at the pub called an ambulance but Andrew, in shock and not realising the extent of his injuries, refused medical help.

It was only when he woke up the next morning in agony with his head "the size of a house" that his dad took him to Newcastle General Hospital.

X-rays revealed his eye socket and cheekbone were shattered. Emergency surgery saw two titanium plates inserted to rebuild his face.

Doctors fear the sight in his right eye could be permanently affected.

Andrew, whom the Evening Chronicle has agreed not to fully identify for fear of a reprisal attack, said: "When I woke up the pain was unbearable. My face had blown up the size of a house. …

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