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My three months of hell after friend bit my nose off
10:42am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in News
IT WAS three months of hell that saw one Hampshire dad forced to undergo extensive plastic surgery after his nose had been ripped from his face.
Bitten off by a so-called friend, Neil Dowd’s nose had to be reconstructed at the hands of Southampton’s top facial plastic surgeon.
Using skin from his forehead, fat from his stomach and cartilage from his ear, the 31-year-old endured three major surgeries and months of pain to put his nose back together.
Although his nose will never be the same again, the results have stunned Neil and his wife Tracey, who feared Neil would be left with a disfigurement that would have ruined his life.
They have now been able to reveal the photographs showing the true extent of Neil’s injuries and the pain he was put through to replace part of his nose now that the man responsible is behind bars.
Geoffrey Hunter, below, was jailed for 27 months at Winchester Crown Court after admitting a charge of wounding after sinking his teeth into Neil’s nose during a night out in Southampton’s Kelly’s bar.
But while Neil and his family are pleased the 27-year-old, of St Aubin’s Road, has been punished, his lack of remorse and refusal to apologise hurts Neil the most, knowing that they used to be such close friends.
Speaking from his Woolston home, Neil said: “I just did not want him to get away with it. We have waited a long time to show people exactly what he did to me and what he is really like.
“I wish it had been done by someone I hadn’t known because that would have made it so much easier to get my head around it.
“It was three months of torture in my eyes but the results are fantastic and now I have a lovely family and we are happy.”
Neil, an electrician, had been on a night out with his best friend when the pair met up with Tracey and her friends in Kelly’s bar, in London Road, on March 4 last year.
As Neil and Tracey, above, were sat down, they noticed that Hunter, who had not been out with the group, and Neil’s best friend had started pushing each other.
Keen not to let the situation get out of control, Neil went over to break it up and pulled Hunter away, at which point they fell to the floor.
Tracey, 27, said: “Geoff just went absolutely crazy. He was in a frenzy, just hitting Neil so many times in the head for what seemed like ages.
“All of Geoff’s friends were standing around just egging him on, it was disgusting."
With no bouncers in sight I was left to run over to try to separate them myself.
When the security guards eventually arrived suddenly there was just blood everywhere.
“There was a hell of a lot of blood. He was covered and it was spraying all over me. I wiped away the blood to see what was wrong and there was no nose.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen, all I kept thinking was ‘oh my God, he’s got no nose’ but I couldn’t tell him that because I didn’t want to worry him.
“I didn’t even think to look for his nose, so when paramedics arrived and asked if we had it, we had no idea where it might have been. We don’t even know if Geoff had swallowed it.”
Above: Neil with ex-friend Geoffrey Hunter
Neil was taken to Southampton General Hospital but due to the swelling he had to wait two weeks before reconstructive surgery could start.
Over the next three months he was in the hands of consultant surgeon Sanjay Sharma and underwent three surgeries.
With Neil unable to work for those three months, and after finding out they were expecting a baby a month after the attack, the financial strain added to their worries.
Neil, who was left too embarrassed to go out, added: “We couldn’t even have our nieces round because I didn’t want to scare them or have to explain to them that someone had bitten off their uncle’s nose.”
But one year on and with Hunter behind bars, Neil and Tracey are ready to put the ordeal behind them and enjoy being parents to three-month-old Alyssa.