‘Like being attacked by a shark’: Mum describes moment nose bitten off during panto fight

The Butlins resort in Bognor Regis
The Butlins resort in Bognor Regis

A mother who had a chunk of her nose bitten off during a fight at Butlins said it was ‘like being attacked by a shark’.

Julie McDonald, 50, from Aylesbury, was pinned down by Tina Love, 29, after a row broke out over a table during a Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime at the holiday camp in Bognor Regis.

A 3cm by 3cm piece of her nose was found on the floor after the attack on April 11, 2013.

A jury of seven women and five men took just 48 minutes to convict Love of wounding with intent after a trial at Chichester Crown Court.

Mother-of-three Ms McDonald described the assault as a ‘shark attack’.

She said: “She launched herself at me and I felt this person biting my nose with full force.

“I have never been bitten by a shark but that is the only think I can liken it to.

“It was like being attacked by a shark. There was this person biting my nose with all of her might.

“It felt like my whole nose was being bitten off. I was completely traumatised.”

The court heard the day before the assault there had been some ‘interaction’ between the McDonald family and the defendant.

Love’s two young children were seen ‘laughing’ and ‘swearing’ at Ms McDonald’s son, who has ‘severe learning difficulties’.

On the night of the attack, the whole McDonald family went down to the Centre Stage of the Manhattan Building at the camp to watch the pantomime.

After finding a table, which appeared to be free, the victim sat down but was confronted by Love who said: “Oi, that’s my table.”

The defendant then waved her finger in Ms McDonald’s face and said: “What are you going to do about it?”

Ms McDonald and her daughter continued to look for tables as the pantomime continued and made ‘spitting sounds’ as the defendant walked past.

Love, from Dartford, Kent, then ‘lunged’ at Ms McDonald and ‘headbutted’ her before biting her nose.

Ms McDonald, a full-time carer, felt it was like her ‘entire nose was being bitten off’.

Rachel Beckett, prosecuting, said: “Suddenly the defendant lunged at Ms McDonald and headbutted her, Ms McDonald fell back onto a seat.

“The defendant then got on top of her and bit her nose.

“She pinned her down and held onto her nose, Ms McDonald felt that her entire nose was being bitten off. She then pushed the defendant away.

“Ms McDonald was screaming in pain and felt blood pouring from her nose.

“While being booked into custody, the defendant said “I hit her in self defence”.

The court previously heard how Love ‘feared for her life’ during the incident.

She told the court their heads ‘collided’, and added: “I was on top of her at this stage – I was just terrified.

“I then just turned and I bit - I didn’t know where I was biting.

“I was terrified – I just wanted her to stop.

“It was all so fast and I was shocked and I feared for my life.

“I did not realise at any time that I had bitten her nose, I did not know where I was biting.”

She will be sentenced at the same court next month.