Tarkan Mustafa suffered a devastating blow to the eye after making a light-hearted comment to a masked man outside Suttons and Sons chip shop on Stoke Newington High Street in London.
The dad-of-two recalled the June 2 incident with MyLondon, as he requests police assistance to track and arrest his attackers and for financial support. He said it happened around 7:30 p.m. just after he and his friend had ordered food at the chippy. They saw two fellas walking in and one of them had "a mask on his head, a ghost face mask or something."
He jokingly told the masked man, "they're not going to let you in with that mate." He said he was "just joking around - nothing serious, no insults or anything like that." He remembered one guy "was sort of laughing" but the other fella took offense with his comment.
The 33-year-old builder from Stoke Newington said the masked man turned on him suddenly and asked him intensely to "look into my eyes and apologise." But instead of apologising, Mustafa and his friend started walking away when they noticed that the man was starting to get "riled up." Calling himself a "bubbly person" and "not a troublemaker," he said he walked away to avoid trouble.
However, without their knowledge, the two men followed and attacked them from behind. He said they "just came out of nowhere" and hit him in the eye with a tool. An eyewitness said the attacker had "steel in his hands," so he thought he must have been struck with "a knuckleduster, a pole, or a knife or whatever."
Mustafa said the blow was so hard it ruptured his eyeball and "fractured the floor" of his eye socket. He described the pain as like "someone sticking a hot knife into the back of my eyeball." Now he is blind in the right eye and doctors told him the stitches will remain there for "up to a year," after which he will get a prosthetic eye.
No arrests have reportedly been made more than a month since the brutal attack even with pictures of the attackers being passed around social media. Mustafa, a dad to a son, 11, and daughter, seven, worries how he will be able to support his children given his situation. He doubts whether he can return to the same job. He also fears that his brothers might get attacked because they look like him.
"I'm frustrated because I'm used to doing things and now I can't really do anything. Everything's been taken away," he said as he admitted that he still gets nightmares about the attack and gets terrified every time he passes through Stoke Newington for his hospital appointments.
"I wouldn't wish this on anyone. All I ever do is help people. I'm just an outgoing, bubbly sort of guy. It's not like we got into a row or anything. I was just having a laugh and it's come to this," he lamented.
A GoFundMe page has since been set up for Mustafa by his family, who shared that he had to undergo major surgery for his eye socket. He has to undergo another surgery to rebuild his fractured cheekbone. He also cannot go back to work for the next six months to a year to focus on recovery. His family is asking for financial assistance for the hospital bills and to support his children who rely on his income.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is asking eyewitnesses or those with knowledge about the attack on Mustafa to call 101 or contact Twitter @MetCC quoting CAD 7077/02JUN. Anonymous tippers can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.