IT was supposed to be a fun night out to celebrate Christmas with friends, family and colleagues.
But for Dean De Freitas life will never be the same again after his Christmas party ended in violence.
The 47-year-old dad-of-six has been left blinded in one eye after an unprovoked and savage attack at a Southampton nightclub.
As reported by the Daily Echo yesterday, He was punched in the face which led to a brawl of about 30 people breaking out in the Cellar bar, formally the Soul Cellar.
Now police hunting for the thugs have released CCTV stills as they appeal for information.
Dean, a warehouse manager at Southampton docks, has undergone surgery at the specialist Eye Unit at Southampton General Hospital but has been told his left eye has ruptured and he has permanently lost the sight in it.
Speaking to the Daily Echo last night on his return from hospital in the lounge of his Totton home filled with three Christmas trees which he decorated with his children before the attack, Dean was on the verge of breaking down.
He said: “Life will not be the same again. It feels like there will be no Christmas this year.
What has happened is devastating and it still hasn’t sunk in.
This isn’t just Christmas, this is the rest of our lives these mindless idiots have ruined.” Dean had been out with workmates on Friday night before meeting up with his two sons Dean, 21, and Joe, 19, before going on to the Cellar bar.
But they had only been upstairs in the nightspot a matter of minutes when Dean was punched at around 3am. He said: “It is the first time I have really been out with my two oldest sons and it was going well.
“Then my son heard someone say ‘which one of you has the huff ?’ but all I remember is seeing a big bloke and his arm coming at me appearing out of nowhere. It was then just blank.
Like someone turned out the lights, bang, gone, nothing. I was blinded in one punch.
“I thought my eyeball was dangling out of my eye from the socket at one point.
“I didn’t fall to the floor, I just saw red. I lunged at him, kicking him and punching him. That is when loads more people appeared out of nowhere.”
Dean will return to hospital next week to find out whether doctors can save his eyeball or whether he may face the rest of his life with an artificial eye.
Dean said: “I feel that this was a racially-motivated attack. As I was waiting for a lift I saw one go off in a taxi and laugh at me.
“I think society is changing and we can’t keep on like this.”
Dean does not know whether he will be able to drive or when he will return to work.
He said: “What keeps me going is I remember a story once where I had a couple of hundred pounds and I was devastated because I lost half of it but I still had the other half in the other pocket so it wasn’t all bad. I have to keep positive for my family.”
- If you recognise any of the people pictured in the CCTV images, or if you have any information about the attack, Call Det Con Gavin Jordan at Shirley CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111