Landlady speaks about pub attack which left her permanently scarred

WARNING – DISTRESSING IMAGES: A pub landlady who had her ear bitten off in a brutal attack has spoken out about the “traumatising” incident. Michelle Thomas was off duty when two customers began causing trouble and were asked to leave.

This led to a scuffle where Ms Thomas fell on the floor and one of the unruly drinkers, Gemma Rowlands, fell on top of her.

Rowlands then bit part of the landlady’s ear off in an attack which has left her struggling with her mental health and permanently scarred.

The 37-year-old says her pub was busy that evening due to it being Remembrance Sunday and the football being on.

She said that Rowlands and her now husband Darren More came into the pub and “from the second they came in they were making a nuisance of themselves”.

Because she is the licensee she helped her staff by asking them to leave but then it kicked off.

Ms Thomas told Liverpool Echo said: “She went for me, they were all on top of me and there were people trying to stop it around us.

“Her partner was on top of me as well, the other lad that they were with was kicking me in the head.

“She bit my ear off and then we got them out of the pub and it was only then I realised that my ear [had been bitten off].

“I felt her bite it, but I didn’t realise she had actually bitten it off until one of customers got a cloth from behind the bar and put it on my ear.

“The police and ambulance came and from that I was taken to Arrowe Park and then taken straight over to Whiston Hospital to see if it could be reattached, but because it had been found on the floor by the paramedics, the surgeon wouldn’t reattach it for me.

“He said the best option was to go down to surgery and have it all cleaned, scraped and stitched and then later on for the process of getting surgery to reconstruct my ear.”

She says her mental health has “deteriorated” following the incident on November 11, 2019 and has struggled with feelings of paranoia.

She said: “I spend a lot of time at my mum’s now due to my mental health, rather than staying at home.

“Obviously from court yesterday I went straight to my mum’s and stayed there last night.”

“For the first two years, I was really paranoid all the time.

“I already had OCD but my mental health deteriorated, I had all my medication increased. I then started to live it with it for a bit and then the [hearing] came around and I was back at the doctors.

“I had to come out of work while they changed all my medication again.”

Michelle decided to not have surgery to reconstruct her ear due to it being extensive, meaning her ear will be permanently disfigured.

She said: “They made me a prosthetic one because they said it would take 12 months before I could have the reconstructive surgery. I couldn’t wear it because I had to glue it on and it wasn’t the same colour as my ear and it just made me feel really paranoid.

“When I went back to see the surgeon over the surgery, he explained what would take place. They would have to take cartilage from my ribs and then my ribs would have to be drained and I would have to stay in hospital on three occasions just for them to make it, for them to fix it basically.

“I had to pass a psychological evaluation, like an assessment, so I thought about it for a while and I eventually agreed to go ahead with it, but then when they sent me the form out that I had to fill in it was quite personal.”

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At a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday, 25-year-old Rowlands admitted wounding and was jailed for 14 months.

Mitigating, David Polglase said the attack was “very out of character” for Rowlands, who has no previous convictions.

He told the court a dispute had erupted after his client “removed a child from the toilets” at The Firemans Arms in Birkenhead and took them to their parents but was accused of having “scared” the youngster.

The court heard her now husband Darren More had drunk 12 pints of Carling and a “fight just kicked off”.

Charles Lander, in mitigation, told the court that his client worked 80 hour weeks in traffic management and had become a “step-father” to Rowlands’ kids.

The 31-year-old broke down in tears as his wife was taken down to the cells and then he began retching in the dock.

It then appears that he was sick as he was taken into the back room leading to the cells.

More, who lived with Rowlands in Tranmere, pleaded guilty to affray and was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

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