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There was a point when I thought: I'm going to die here.

Byline: By Amy Hunt

A businessman told today how he thought he would die in an horrific glass attack.

Father-of-two Rob McKenzie needed 36 stitches and a metal plate in his cheek after the unprovoked assault in a Newcastle nightclub.

The property developer needed a three hour operation after the attack and doctors say he will be scarred for life.

Mr McKenzie, 52, was enjoying a night out with pals at Newcastle's Greys Club, off Grey Street, when he was set upon in the early hours of Sunday.

And today he spoke of his anger at the man who glassed him, branding him a coward and a lunatic.

Mr McKenzie said: "There was one point when I did think I'm going to die here, because when I put my head back I was swallowing mouthfuls of blood. I started gagging and coughing because blood was running down my throat.

"He wanted a fight and we just happened to be in the wrong place. He was just doing it for kicks. Only a coward does that.

"We were having an extremely good night. Everybody was having a great time and the atmosphere was brilliant. We were just drinking, talking and dancing near the main bar.

"The club started to thin out at about 2.30am and I saw there were these two young lads there that looked totally out of place. They stood out as they weren't the type. They were too young.

"They were being very aggressive, punching each other. I think they were on something from their manner, their eyes.

"Then one of them became very aggressive towards us. I took up a passive position, putting my hands up.

"Then one punched one of my friends. I went to turn around and then bang. I don't remember anything after that until a few seconds later. I must have been unconscious."

When he came to he thought he had been punched, until one of his pals told him what had happened.

"I didn't feel anything" he said. "Then somebody told me get your hand up to your face.

"I didn't know at the time but blood was running down my face. It was squirting all over."

Mr McKenzie, who works as a land buyer for a property developer, was taken to Newcastle General Hospital where he had surgery to repair a broken cheekbone with a metal plate and 36 stitches in the deep gash.

Police believe the attacker rammed a broken glass into his face.

They also think he may have been kicked in the head because of the force required to fracture his cheekbone.

"The doctors told me the wound was very deep and they needed to put me to sleep to check the nerves in my face as they thought they had been damaged.

"They have told me the nerves might not grow back. They can't tell ( I have to wait and see. My face is numb.

"They said I was lucky. It could have been in my eye and I could have lost my sight. I'm lucky in one respect but I don't think I'm lucky in another."

Mr McKenzie, from near Washington, used to run the Three Mile Inn in Gosforth, Newcastle. He added: "You go through different emotions. You get angry. The man's a lunatic. I want him locked up.

"As far as I'm concerned that's a deadly weapon. Hopefully someone will ring the police and get him off the streets.

"It was brutal, the lowest of the low. I'm just hoping they can catch him."

Police are keen for the public to come forward and help to catch the attacker.

DC Kevin Ridley of Market Street CID said: "It's a substantial injury, one of the worst of its type I've seen.

"This was a random, unprovoked attack on a person on a night out. It could have been a lot worse. It could have been his eye or his throat.

"We would like anyone who saw the attack or who knows the attacker or the man he was with to call us."

Anyone with information should contact Newcastle CID on (0191) 214 6555, ex 62145.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2006
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