Most Read

News

Mom Who Had Part Of Her Lip Bitten Off By A Stranger At A Carnival Is Now Too Scared To Go Out Alone

Vicky Silvia's injuries (Collect / PA Real Life), Jason Thompson (Met Police/ PA Real Life)

WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT.

Vicky Silva has been left terrified to go out alone after a stranger bit her lip off, before he was captured on CCTV calmly enjoying a Nando's in a horrifying unprovoked attack at London's Notting Hill Carnival.

Silva, who has chosen to give a false name to protect her safety, had been enjoying the annual festival on August 25 last year when a man appeared “out of nowhere" from the crowds.

In the frenzied few seconds that followed, he lunged forward and head-butted her screaming, "I am the devil" before sinking his teeth into her top lip and biting a chunk of flesh clean off.

Vicky Silva suffered "life-changing" injuries as a result of the attack (Collect / PA Real Life)

Reeling in shock, Silva was left standing in the middle of the street, blood spewing profusely from a gaping hole in her face.

Meanwhile, her attacker later identified as 42-year-old Jason Thompson, fled the scene and was later caught on CCTV in a nearby Nando's restaurant.

Thompson was jailed for 14 years at Isleworth Crown Court after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

“I'm just grateful I'm still alive. The attack left me wishing not to be here," she said.

Vicky (left) and a friend at Notting Hill Carnival in August 2019 (Collect / PA Real Life)

“If it hadn't been for the amazing support and help from the police and medical staff, as well as my family, I might not be here today," she continued.

“I've always been a strong person and had belief in myself, but Thompson has taken that away from me."

“But in all honesty, I don't hate him. When people do something wrong, they often try to run away from it or deny it, but him admitting it means that, maybe one day, he could change."

She was alongside two friends when she went first time to the carnival, an annual event featuring sound systems and a parade, taking place in the west of the city.

“I'd never thought about going before, but two of my girlfriends were going, so I thought 'Why not?'" Silva explained. “At first, the carnival was loads of fun. We were taking selfies and dancing."

Vicky (left) and a friend at Notting Hill Carnival in August 2019 (Collect / PA Real Life)

But things soon took a turn when a few hours after they had arrived, Silva lost her friends in the crowds.

“The carnival was so packed with people – there was no way I was going to find them," she said.

“When I tried to call them, I realized my phone had no signal. I couldn't order an Uber either, so I was stuck. I started to panic, and I had no idea how I was going to find my way home."

Jason Thompson (Met Police/ PA Real Life)

Keen to escape the throng of people so she could get her bearings, Silva asked a group of women if they could point her in the direction of the nearest bus stop, and it was then that Thompson appeared.

“He stared at me and shouted, 'Because I am the devil'.His voice sounded evil and menacing – like there was no stopping him. It felt like he was the actual devil. I felt completely terrified," she said.

“All of a sudden, he leapt forward, head-butted me and bit my lip – but at that time, I had no idea he'd actually bit the left part of my top lip completely off."

Vicky Silvia's injuries (Collect / PA Real Life)

Thompson began to flee, weaving his way through the crowd.

But, even in her state of shock, she was determined not to let him get away.

“I had no idea what had happened. All I was thinking about was that I could see him zig-zagging his way through the crowd and getting away," she said.

Vicky Silva with two friends (Collect / PA Real Life)

“I turned and saw two police officers standing nearby, so I walked over to them. I didn't want them to help me – at that moment I just wanted them to catch him," she added.

But seeing the extent of blood-soaked Silva's horrific injuries, the officers quickly alerted nearby paramedics and took her to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

“I don't remember feeling much pain because of the shock and adrenaline of it all," she said.

Silva was then transferred to Northwick Park Hospital, in Greater London, where she spent the next three days.

“Once the adrenaline wore off, I wasn't able to speak. I didn't want anyone to see me or to know what happened," she continued. “It was awful. I felt like my life was over. I lost my appetite – but all I could eat anyway for two weeks was soup through a straw."

“The whole time I was recovering, I just prayed that the police would catch this monster."

Jason Thompson caught on CCTV at Nandos (Met Police/ PA Real Life)

“Something in my head told me to keep faith that he would be caught. I knew I didn't deserve this, and I knew he didn't deserve to have his freedom," she added.

Meanwhile, the police had been doing everything in their power to catch Thompson.

Eight days after the attack, they launched a public appeal for information and a witness came forward, which subsequently led to Thompson being arrested and charged on September 4.

“I was overcome with emotion when I found out he'd been caught. It was so important to me that he was found," she said.

Since being discharged from hospital, she has undergone a second bout of surgery, but she's expected to need at least four further operations over the next two years to fully repair her lip.

“The doctors told me not to look at my face, but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to see what damage he'd done, so I opened my phone camera," she said.

Jason Thompson caught on CCTV at Nandos (Met Police/ PA Real Life)

“When I saw my reflection, I went cold and thought, 'This cannot be true.' I remember praying and asking for God to take my life. I'll be scarred for life because of him," she continued.

But for Silva, whose nerves are too shattered for her to work, the physical scars pale into insignificance in comparison to the mental anguish she has suffered.

“I still can't go to the supermarket by myself – even during the day," she said. “Sometimes I bring my little niece, who is just a child, along with me. She's still a child, so if anything did happen, she wouldn't be able to help, but it just brings me some comfort not being alone."

“Maybe one day I'll get better, but every day is still a struggle for me, I'm still completely petrified," she said.

Silva has even had to leave her flat in Bayswater, west London, as she could no longer bear to live in the city, moving instead to Swindon in December last year to be near to her extended family.

In February this year, Jason Thompson, of Appleby Close, Haringey, admitted his crime at Isleworth Crown Court.

“I didn't go to the court because I didn't want to see him again," she said. “In my mind, I constantly replay his face and him coming up and biting me. I see him in my head all the time, so I don't want to see him in person ever again."

With Thompson now behind bars, she is still facing the daunting prospect of piecing the shattered parts of her life back together.

She also cannot help but think about the precious memories her injury has stolen from her, such as her eldest daughter's graduation, which she was too traumatized to attend.

“Yes, doctors can try and fix my lip, but they cannot fix my happiness or to help me accept my appearance. I've got to do that for myself, by taking each day as it comes," she said.

“Not only has this impacted my life, but it's impacted both my daughters' lives too."

“My youngest still can't understand why someone would do this to her mom. She's suffered with terrifying nightmares about me getting attacked ever since. My oldest, who was training to be a doctor at the time, graduated shortly after the attack and she was devastated that I wasn't able to attend her graduation because I couldn't bring myself to leave the house."

“I've not been able to work since this happened, but I hope one day I will be able to again. I'd love to open my own cleaning business so I can provide for my family and my daughters in the future," she added.

“Still, I'm thanking God that he's in jail and that justice has been done. Now, he has a lot of time to think about what he did. I believe in God, and I have my daughters, friends and family and now I want to look to the future."

The officers in the case did all they could to support Silva.

“Jason Thompson has not only caused the victim life-changing physical injuries, but also some deeply troubling emotional injuries as well," Detective Chief Inspector Driss Hayoukane, from the Notting Hill post-investigation Unit, said.

“Due to this unprovoked attack, the victim felt so scared to be in London that she stopped living in the capital after more than a decade and struggles to go out in public on her own."

“My whole team work non-stop to identify Thompson after this attack, and we have all felt some sort of responsibility for making sure that he gets the jail time that he so rightly deserves."

“The streets are a much safer place with this dangerous individual in jail."