The face of Newcastle pub violence

IT started with an accidentally spilt drink at a crowded city pub; and ended with Benjamin Thorne almost losing his eye.

Mr Thorne, 29, had been celebrating his birthday at the Lass O’Gowrie Hotel at Wickham on Saturday night.

About 1am he accidentally bumped into a man, spilling his drink.

Mr Thorne, of Mayfield, said he initially apologised, but then became involved in an argument with the man and two others.

He says one of the men grabbed him by the throat and held him up against a wall before another hit him in the face with a schooner glass.

The result was several deep cuts to the left side of his face, two just missing his eye, and more cuts on his eyelid.

Mr Thorne was dealing yesterday with the realisation that he could have lost his eyesight.

‘‘Two of my favourite things to do are surfing and ju-jitsu, and if I had lost my eye or my sight then I wouldn’t be able to do either of them for a long time. It would have affected everything, I wouldn’t have been able to continue my work on the railway,’’ Mr Thorne said.

‘‘The doctors who looked at the cuts on my eyelids told me ‘you’re really lucky that you moved your head and he has hit you flush on the cheek instead of the eye’.’’

Ambulance officers treated Mr Thorne at the scene and he spent hours at John Hunter Hospital having X-rays yesterday.

Doctors have told him the wounds will heal but he will carry a permanent scar on his face.

Two witnesses who contacted Mr Thorne yesterday said they had been showered in glass and blood during the assault.

A police spokesman confirmed Newcastle detectives had taken over the investigation.

The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that Newcastle police had put thugs on notice after a string of king-hit assaults and random acts of violence in the Newcastle central business district.

More than 76per cent of voters on the Herald’s online poll said they didn’t feel safe walking Newcastle streets at night.

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