A young disabled man who weighs just six stone because of a rare wasting disease was left lying in a pool of his own blood after his face was allegedly slashed open by a taxi driver.

Lee Brown, 27, from Hersham, was left with a one-and-a-half-inch deep wound across his mouth and cheek that needed 30 stitches.

Lee suffers from the potentially life-threatening rheumatic disease scleroderma, which, in his case, causes a severe form of arthritis.

The disease has caused several health scares, including the loss of his fingers and two collapsed lungs. It also leaves him frail and weak, and unable to walk long distances.

He was attacked after he and his wife, Sharn, had tried in vain to get a taxi driver to take them home in the early hours of Sunday morning from East Molesey Cricket Club.

Mr Brown said: "I don't really know what happened.

"One minute I'm grabbing the guy's shoulder, asking him to drive us home and the next thing I know I'm lying on the floor on my back with blood everywhere.

"I looked up and there was blood all over me and all round me loads of it. It was pouring out from my face.

"At first I didn't know what was happening, but then I looked in the mirror and I started panicking. I could see my face was just hanging off."

Mr Brown, who is constantly in pain because of his condition, said the wound made it more difficult for him to cope.

He said: "I already have problems eating because of the disease I have. Now I can barely eat anything. I get more down my top than I get in my mouth."

Mr and Mrs Brown said the confrontation started after the young couple ordered a taxi from Ashley Cars, based in Walton.

A taxi turned up but the driver allegedly refused to take them home, at which point Mr Brown was injured.

He was first taken to Kingston Hospital, but was transferred to St George's Hospital in South London so doctors could stitch his gaping wound.

He will be left with a permanently visible four inch long scar.

Mohammed Bashir, the manager of Ashley Cars, said: "We have suspended the driver involved.

"We will stand by him unless it is proven that he did not act in self-defence.

"We have a great relationship with all our customers and train all our drivers in how to treat them"

A spokeswoman for North Surrey Police said: "A 25-year-old man from Woking was arrested on suspicion of GBH, following an incident at East Molesey Cricket Club on February 5 in which a man was left with serious facial injuries.

"The man has been released on bail pending further inquiries."