“I am just grateful to be alive, quite frankly.”
Those were the words of a man left with life changing injuries after an horrific attack, described by one detective as among the worst he had ever seen.
Denver Varley, 54, needed seven operations during a three-month stint in hospital as surgeons worked to repair the damage to his face in an unprovoked attack in Blackpool.
His attacker, Lee Scott, phoned police during the brutal and sustained assault to tell them: “If you don’t get here, I’m going to kill him.”
Speaking publicly for the first time since Scott, 42, was jailed for life, Mr Varley said: “How I survived that, I will never know.
“I have seen the crime scene photos and they were horrific – it was like something out of Silence of the Lambs.”
Burnley Crown Court heard how Scott, of Havelock Street in Blackpool, dialled 999 and told operators what he was doing during the attack at his neighbour’s flat on January 18.
He then denied assault, claiming he was acting in self defence but was later found guilty.
Mr Varley, an American citizen who now lives in Grange Park, said the pair had been drinking together socially when Scott “snapped for no apparent reason”.
The 54-year-old turned his back briefly when Scott – who had also taken drugs – launched into the frenzied attack, biting him repeatedly.
“It was sociable up to that point,” he said.
“All of a sudden he’s on my back and he’s trying to rain blows on my face.
“He’s a much larger man than me. He was able to get on top and pin me down.
“Then he brought his face down and began savagely tearing into my face.”
Mr Varley lost a large chunk of his left ear as well as part of his nose and upper lip in the attack.
He said surgeons at Royal Preston Hospital, where he was taken after a short stay at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, had done a “remarkable job” repairing the damage but he will still be scarred for life.
He added: “They are not the ones who have to look in the mirror and realise the extent of what he did. I will never look the way I did.
“It’s been a terrible ordeal.”
But he said he is getting support to cope with the effects of the attack and is now coming off the medication he was on following the surgery.
“You’ve got to take it one day at a time,” he said.
When police got to the scene of the attack, they were shocked by the level of violence they witnessed.
Speaking after Lee Scott was jailed for life for his actions, Det Con Chris Hammond, of Lancashire Police, said: “Lee Scott’s actions that night were pure evil.
“The defendant bit the victim numerous times on the face, causing serious injuries to his cheek, nose, ear and upper lip. The victim was left with some of the most horrendous injuries I have ever seen.
“When the police arrived they were met with an utterly unspeakable scene and had to remove the defendant off the victim, who was still carrying out his attack.
“As if this horrendous act of violence was not enough, the defendant had earlier called the police telling them what he was doing.
“Scott was found to have no mental health issues and pleaded not guilty, saying his extreme actions were self-defence, having suffered a cut finger during the earlier incident.
“The victim has had to undergo seven operations and spent three months in hospital. He has thankfully made a remarkable recovery, however still has life-changing injuries. This crime has understandably had a significant psychological impact on him and I hope in time that he is able to move on with his life. I further commend his bravery for giving evidence in court.
“The sentence handed down by the court reflects Scott’s savage actions and we welcome the court result.”