A MAN has been scarred for life after being slashed with a kitchen knife during an alcohol-fuelled argument with a “friend”.

Scaffolder Shaun Kelly needed emergency surgery and 38 stitches for facial injuries following the vicious early morning assault in Bournemouth’s Triangle area on March 25 last year.

Despite apologising on Facebook the next day, his attacker Joe Dunning, 24, went on the run and, following his arrest, denied being responsible for Mr Kelly’s injuries.

But he was found guilty of wounding with intent following a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court and is now awaiting sentence.

Jurors heard how violence had flared at a flat in Norwich Avenue West after a 14-hour drinking binge.

Mr Kelly from Walpole Road, Boscombe, told the Daily Echo: “Joe wanted to borrow £15 for a taxi fare but I hadn’t any money left. It just escalated; he pushed me and then I pushed him.

“I was speaking to someone else when he suddenly cut me open with the 13-inch blade before running out. I’d no idea how bad the injuries were; blood was seeping through a towel I was holding to my face and I was in a state of shock.”

Neil McCormack, whose home was the scene of the attack, phoned for an ambulance.

After being taken to the Royal Bournemouth Hos-pital, Mr Kelly was transferred to Poole Hospital for specialist treatment.

He said: “I was in surgery for five hours and on mor-phine so it was all a bit of blur.

“But when my family came to visit me I could tell, from their reaction, how bad I looked.”

On his release Mr Kelly went to Madrid to stay with an uncle.

He said: “I just had to get away; I tried to speak to Joe but he wasn’t prepared to talk to me so I spoke to the police instead.

“People were calling me a grass. It was a hard decision but it was the right thing to do.

“Reliving it in court brought all the memories flooding back; it was the first time I’d seen Joe since the attack but hearing he had been found guilty made it all worthwhile.”

While time is healing his physical scars, Mr Kelly is still emotionally damaged by the attack.

He said: “People look at me as if I’m some kind of violent thug; there’s no way I will ever be able to work in a club or a bar because appearances count.

“I don’t want Joe to be locked up forever but he has to realise that what he did was wrong.

“He will be out of prison after a few years but I will be judged for life; unless I get compensation for my injuries and can afford plastic surgery. I’ve had counselling which has helped.

“We had been friendly since mum, who knew Joe’s parents, introduced us when I was 10. In all those years I’d never even seen Joe involved in a fight.”

Dunning from Ladbroke Grove, South East London, will be sentenced on June 8 – Mr Kelly’s 24th birthday.

He said: “I know Joe will find being locked up very difficult.

“But he’s destroyed our friendship and I will be celebrating for all the wrong reasons.”