A man could be left scarred for life after he was targeted in what he says was an unprovoked slashing attack in Sunderland.
Liam Newby was left with a horrific facial injury after being attacked on Saturday afternoon.
The 27-year-old says he was approached by three men while he was out walking his friend’s dog on a path known locally as Town End Hill, in Town End Farm, at about 2pm.
One of them asked if they could borrow a lighter, and when Liam tried to oblige, he was slashed in the face with a knife. Police are appealing for witnesses.
Liam said: “I was walking towards home when I heard three lads.
“One of them shouted, ‘Here, mate’ and asked for a light.
It felt like someone running their finger across my faceLiam Newby
“I put the dog’s lead on the floor and searched my pockets for a lighter when I heard a click, which I thought nothing of at the time.
“I got the lighter and leaned in to give the lad the light, when one of the others slashed me.
“It felt like someone running their finger across my face.
“I didn’t really feel anything, until I felt something warm running down my chin, which I realised was blood.
“At that point, something just told me to run, so I went back down the hill as fast as I could.”
Liam described the attacker to the Echo as wearing a black Adidas hoodie, while one of the others in the group was about 6ft 3in, ginger-haired and wearing a red and yellow Berghaus jacket.
The other was said to be wearing a cream jacket, and the trio headed towards Downhill Complex after the alleged attack.
Liam, who lives at home with parents Lorraine and John, ran home, and he later required 39 stitches after going to hospital.
Police were also informed, and are investigating.
Liam added: “It was frightening to see how deep the cut was.
“There was a lot of blood, and when my parents saw me, they were panicking.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet, but I know it could have been worse, especially if it had been a younger person who was attacked.
“It’s just not something you ever expect to happen to you.
“I’m going to have to go back to get the stitches out, and then we’ll see where we go from there.
“I’m definitely going to be left with something, but over time it should gradually fade.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Police are appealing for witnesses after a man was attacked in Sunderland.
“At around 1.50pm on Saturday, April 2, police received a report that a 27-year-old man had been attacked with a knife in Sunderland.
“He had been walking along a path on the locally known ‘Town End Hill’ in the Town End Farm area of Sunderland when he was approached by three men.
“One of the men then attacked the victim with a knife before the group fled the scene.
“The victim sustained a serious facial injury and was able to call for an ambulance. Emergency services attended and the man was taken to hospital for treatment.
“A photograph of the victim’s injuries has been released to show the extent of the incident.
“Police inquiries into the incident are continuing and extra patrols are in the area to carry out inquiries and reassure any concerned members of the public.
“Any witnesses, or anyone with any information about the incident, should call police on 101 quoting reference 598 020416 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”