My life isn't over, says victim of gouging

Tina Nash vows to move on after her former lover is given life sentence by judge for savage attack

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The Independent Online

A woman whose eyes were gouged out by her boyfriend has vowed not to let the attack ruin her life on the day that a judge handed her former lover a life sentence.

Tina Nash was subjected to a vicious attack at the hands of Shane Jenkin, who imprisoned her for 12 hours, strangled her until she lost consciousness and beat her so badly she was left with a broken nose and jaw. Doctors were unable to save her eyes after he tore at them with his fingers.

Truro Crown Court heard that Jenkin had watched a DVD featuring eye gouging the night before the attack on 20 April 2011.

Yesterday she urged other victims of domestic abuse to get out of their abusive relationships immediately, and not let fear or embarrassment stand in the way of them seeking help.

In a statement read on her behalf outside court, she said: "I urge anyone out there suffering domestic abuse to contact the police before it is too late. Don't be frightened or embarrassed, there are specially trained officers who can and will help you. If you really feel unable to contact the police, there are charities and support groups such as West Cornwall Women's Aid who will help, advise and support you in doing so."

Ms Nash said she had waited a long time for Jenkin to face justice for what he did to her that night. "I have waited a year and three weeks for this day," she said.

Jenkin, 33, admitted causing grevious bodily harm last month but denied the charge of attempted murder. He was given a life sentence and told he would serve a minimum of six years for the attack at his partner's home in Hayle.

"In view of all the circumstances in this case, it may well be many, many years before the parole board consider the defendant safe to be allowed out in the community," said Judge Christopher Harvey Clark.

He added: "In my judgment [Jenkin] is a very dangerous man from which the public needs to be kept safe." The judge also made a "hybrid order" that Jenkin should be detained at a secure psychiatric hospital.

The judge said the attack "amounted to a barbaric attack involving extreme violence... Whatever his mental state may be, he must bear significant responsibility for what happened."

Police paid tribute to Ms Nash's courage. Det Insp Chris Strickland said: "For us she has been an inspiration."

Ms Nash, who sat in the public gallery, while Jenkin refused to attend court, said her life had changed forever on the night of the attack, but that she was now able to "move on... and rebuild my life".

She said she felt "buried alive, claustrophobic and not in control" after the attack, which left her blind, adding that the worst injury was the inability to see her two young children again.

"I feel like I'm coming to terms with it now, I don't feel as low as I did. I'm definitely getting the old me back. To be honest with you, I feel nothing towards him [Jenkin], nothing, because that's a feeling, and I don't want to have any feelings for him," she told the BBC.

Ms Nash added: "I don't think I'm brave, I think I'm surviving... you only get one life, so I'm not going to let him ruin it." Ms Nash, whose sons were aged 13 and three at the time of the attack, said she was glad Jenkin had "at least taken responsibility for changing my life forever".

She added: "I truly feel that, when he was strangling me, he was trying to murder me."