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Woman who bit off attacker's tongue is living in fear

The 27-year-old Nepalese woman who bit off part of the tongue of the man who sexually assaulted her is living with the fear that he will seek revenge. She feels “it’s not fair” that he only received a suspended jail term after making her feel “doomed”.

“So after what he did to me he is at home? He can do it again? It’s just not fair… This man could have killed me… After what happened I was broken. I was crying all the time because it never happened in my life… But thank God everything is OK because I fought back,” said Ms Shrestha who preferred not to reveal her first name.

On Thursday 35-year-old Crispin Grima from Santa Luċija, pleaded guilty to violent indecent assault and being drunk in public in the early hours of June 1.

He was handed a four-month jail term suspended for a year. During his arraignment he spoke with some difficulty because of the injury to his tongue.

Because he pleaded guilty the day he was charged, Ms Shrestha’s version was never heard in court.

I had difficulty sleeping. The whole situation came back when I closed by eyes

Standing in the road where the incident took place, the marketing student who has been living in Malta for four years recounted how she was on her way to her Msida flat after a 12-hour shift in a restaurant when she was attacked.

It was 3.15am. She had to walk through Testaferrata Street, a notorious red light district, to get home. Her colleagues walked her as far as Miracle Foods, located towards the bottom of the road. From there, she only had a two minute walk.

When she arrived in front of Gala, she sensed someone following her.

“I heard someone calling me ‘sabiħa, sabiħa’. I looked and there was a guy and I told him: ‘Excuse me please, stay away from me. You are seeing my uniform, I was at work. If you want something else there are women down there and you can do what you want’,” she said.

But he did not give up and when he got very close, she punched him “not very hard” in the face and pushed him away.

“He became aggressive. He grabbed me and threw me on the floor. He jumped on me. I tried to escape and shouted: ‘help, help’. He started kissing me.

“I don’t know what happened next. He was really strong. I don’t know at what point I bit his tongue. I didn’t let go. I don’t know why I did it,” she said cringing at the memory.

“He got very angry and started to squeeze my neck very hard,” she said adding that a prostitute in the area then came over to help and her assailant ran away.

“I realised I bit his tongue when he ran away. I felt something on my face,” she said touching her right cheek where his detached tongue had rested. She then realised she was covered in his blood.

Meanwhile, the police arrived and she told them what had happened and that she bit her aggressor’s tongue.

The police retrieved the piece of tongue from the road where she was attacked. She told them that at no point did he undress her or touch her in intimate areas because she fought back.

The following day he was arrested, after he went to the Floriana health centre to seek treatment for his injury.

During the attack Ms Shrestha hurt her left leg and also had scratches on her back and arms apart from a sore neck. But, she said, the worst thing was the “psychological pain”.

“After that day I was shaking and I don’t know what I was doing. I was crying continuously… I difficulty sleeping. The whole situation came back when I closed by eyes.

“I’m here without my family and my boyfriend had left the country that day,” she said adding that her mother begged her to go back home to Nepal when she heard what had happened.

“Thank God everything is OK now… But I am afraid he will want revenge,” she said.

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