Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Horror as racist 'cannibal' bites off part of man's nose

Ali Halimi after the attack
Ali Halimi after the attack

The wife of an Algerian man whose nose was partially bitten off in a savage attack has spoken of their horror at the incident.

Gena Halimi's husband Ali was sitting in a car reading when he was set upon by a man she described as a "cannibal".

Mr Halimi's right nostril was ripped off in the attack which happened outside a restaurant in Londonderry city centre last Sunday at around 11.30pm.

Surgeons were able to sew the nostril back on but it is now a waiting game to see whether it will heal, and reconstructive surgery will be needed because of damage done to cartilage.

The couple had tied the knot 18 months ago in Algeria and Ali had only been in a position to move to Derry six months ago after a lot of hard work by the pair.

Ali – who was a firefighter in his African homeland – had gone along to help a restaurant owner friend of his with deliveries on Sunday night.

Shortly before the attack the owner noticed a man urinating up against the shop and asked him to move on, which he did.

Describing what happened next, Mrs Halimi said: "Ali and his friend talked for a while and then his friend went in to pray – because they are Muslims they must pray – and at that time the man came and opened the door.

"He put his face and body into the car and said 'Do you know me? Do you know what I am?', and then bit Ali on the nose.

"Ali tried to put him in a headlock to protect himself but the man started punching the head off him and bit him in the back.

"He bit him right through his clothing, and he had on his coat, T-shirt and hooded top.

"He is a cannibal – there is no other word for him."

The native Derry woman said the attack was racist, with the perpetrator having called her husband a "black c***".

Mrs Halimi said the gruesome assault has left more than just physical scars.

She said of her husband: "His confidence is away down big time. He is just devastated about this whole thing.

"He was already shy before and now if we go out he is hiding it and has his head down.

"He keeps saying 'why me?' and I keep telling him: 'You were in the right place, this boy is in the wrong'," she said.

"I couldn't stop crying when I heard this had happened. I am trying to stay strong for Ali."

Mr Halimi is now on antibiotics to fight the risk of infection, as well as painkillers for his injuries from the attack.

The couple will meet with plastic surgeons next week to discuss reconstruction.

"They have to rebuild the cartilage in his nose. They will have to take it from his ear and put it onto his nose," Mrs Halimi said.

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