by Paul Hooper and Jamie Bullen
Danny Dash has been jailed for nine years
A father left blind in one eye after it was gouged out by a love rival has spoken of his terror after the brutal attack.
Mark Clark, 44, said his life has changed forever after vicious Canterbury thug Danny Dash, 30, pounced on him just yards from his home.
Dash, of Miller Avenue, was jailed for nine years at Canterbury Crown Court after admitting causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Clark in June.
The attack took place moments after two women, including Mr Clark's ex-partner, began fighting in the street.
Speaking at his home in St John's Road, Swalecliffe, a shaken Mr Clark said he feared for his life during the attack.
He said: "I remember everything. I was screaming in pain.
"I thought he was trying to kill me. If a neighbour hadn't have stopped him I could have lost both eyes. I remember him (Dash) being hit with a walking stick.
"I get headaches. I can't stop thinking about what he has taken away from me.
"I don't look how I used to look. Without my sight it has affected my walking, my security.
"He has deformed my face and when I look in the mirror I don't feel confident. It has changed everything and the way I feel about everyone."
Mark Clark has been left half blind and disfigured by the brutal attack at the hands of his ex-girlfriend’s lover
The father-of-two admitted he has suicidal thoughts, but also said his family have comforted him throughout his recovery.
He added: "They feel for me, but they don't want to get too close because I take it out on them.
"He has deformed my face and when I look in the mirror I don't feel confident. It has changed everything and the way I feel about everyone..." victim Mark Clark
"If it wasn't for them it would have been a lot harder. They have supported me through everything.
"I used to be outgoing and get the bus into town and sit with friends but now I don't go out as much.
"I get down and depressed and I have crying bouts. You do think you don't want to go on."
The court heard the feud between the two men began when Mr Clark's ex-partner Emma Long began a relationship with Dash.
Prosecutor Lucy Luttman said: "The split between Mr Clark and Ms Long was somewhat acrimonious because he believed that she was seeing Dash while they were still together.
"Consequently there was bad blood between the three of them and Mr Clark received threats from Dash not to contact her because she was now with him."
Dash threatened to "do" his rival and when Mr Clark was with a female friend, Michelle Rule, on a bus – Dash and Ms Long sat nearby.
As they left the bus, Dash uttered a gruesomely accurate threat, telling his rival: "To sleep with one eye open!"
Eye gouge victim Mark Clark
Ms Long then began ringing Ms Rule making threats and 30 minutes later the two women began fighting in the street.
"It was essentially a scuffle and a roll around on the ground until Dash stamped on Ms Rule," the prosecutor revealed.
Mr Clark intervened and Dash "pushed his thumbs into his eyes, in effect gouging his eyes out", the court heard.
Ms Luttman added: "Mr Clark began screaming that he had had enough but Dash didn't let go but continued to push his thumbs for approximately 30 seconds."
One witness would later describe the victim "curled up in a foetal position and the defendant holding him around the neck with his fingers in his eyes".
The court heard the attack only ended when a neighbour intervened and found Mr Clark "screeching in pain and blood dripping from his eye socket".
It was then that the sneering Dash was heard to boast: "Don't worry. I got him in the eyes."
Mr Clark was taken to hospital and treated for serious eye injuries, but despite an operation he is only able to see light in one eye and his right eye is also damaged.
Phil Rowley, defending, revealed Dash's girlfriend was now pregnant.
Judge Simon James told Dash the use of his thumbs amounted to an attack with a weapon – equivalent of using a shod foot or a headbutt.
He said: "This was a use of extreme violence and its effects on your victim have been devastating. There was also a degree of premeditation in what you did and your self-serving account makes it difficult to accept that your remorse is genuine."
When Dash was arrested it was discovered he had secreted bags of heroin inside himself.
He admitted possessing drugs and was given a six-month concurrent sentence.
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