A FATHER-of-two needed 62 stitches to repair gaping wounds to his face after being slashed with a stanley knife during a racist attack.
The 28-year-old, who does not want to be indentified, lost about two pints of blood after being assaulted by a gang of four Asian men opposite Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre in Barkingside High Street.
The man, who lives in Barkingside, said his confidence has been left shattered by the ordeal - which took place at around 1.30am on Sunday May 16.
He said: "I left the Fairlop Oak pub and went to a 24-hour shop nearby to get some cigarettes and a couple of lagers.
"On the way out I saw a friend of mine at the bus stop and went to chat with him. At the same time a car pulled up and a group of Asian lads got out and walked past me. They were looking at me funny.
"My friend eventually left and I was leaning against a wall looking at my mobile phone when one of (the gang) hit me over the head with a bottle."
As the man turned around another gang member - described as having a skin head haircut and long beard - racially abused him before slashing him twice in the face, causing a two-inch cut to his cheek and a five-inch gash under his right eye.
The thugs, who were all aged between 25 and 30, ran off following the attack.
The injured man, who has been unable to return to his job as a digger driver on the Olympic site or go out alone at night since the attack, said: "I staggered into the 24-hour shop to ask for help.
I was bleeding really badly.
"If I hadn't been on the way down the guy could have slashed my neck.
"The ambulance took half-an-hour to get there. Luckily an old mate of mine from school arrived at the shop not long after to get something and saw me there bleeding. He helped stem the blood with a load of dusters from the shop.
"I passed out because of the blood loss but the ambulance crew gave me a shot of something which woke me up again."
He was taken to King George Hospital in Goodmayes before being transferred to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel to have micro-stitches inserted in his lip.
He said: "This has really destroyed my confidence.
"I was already feeling low after splitting up from my wife in January, but this has made it even harder for me to meet someone new.
"I'm just lucky to have such good friends around me.
"I don't understand why this happened. I didn't say anything to these people and they just brutally attack me."
The knife-wielding thug is thought to have been wearing a tracksuit at the time of the assault while the other three men wore dark clothing.
The car the gang arrived in was driven off before the attack. It is described as small and blue - possibly a Ford Fiesta.