The father of teenager Mariam Moustafa has spoken out about trying to get his life back on track after her tragic death.
This week, the 53-year-old has returned to work for the first time in three years.
Mohamed Moustafa, who goes by the name of Tommy, had been unable to carry on with his job as a chef after the trauma of losing 18-year-old Mariam.
The Nottingham College engineering student was attacked by a gang of girls outside Victoria Centre in Nottingham city centre in February 2018 as she waited for a bus.
Mariam suffered a stroke within hours of the attack and was placed in an induced coma at Nottingham City Hospital.
She died a month later on March 14, 2018, leaving her family heartbroken.
Mr Moustafa, who described Mariam as “very kind” and “like an angel”, was too grief-stricken to work.
He ended up quitting his job in the kitchen at Istanbul restaurant in Alfreton Road, Nottingham.
Teenagers were sentenced following the incidents.
After the hearing, Mr Moustafa considered moving back to Egypt with his family – his wife Nessrin Abu-Elenein, son Adam, now 16, and daughter Mallak, 19.
But this week he set to work again, doing what he does best as a chef cooking pizza and pasta.
Mr Moustafa said he hoped his appointment at a new Nottingham restaurant would help distract him from the constant heartache.
Although the pain will never go away, he said: “I am trying to take my life back.
“It’s been a very bad time, there’s been a lot of stress. It’s been difficult doing anything. She was my first daughter and it’s very hard.
“I can’t sleep when I remember what happened and also my wife as well.
“Since that time I stopped doing my job but then my friend called me opening this restaurant asking if I could help.
“I have had a very bad time but if I am working and give all my best to pizzas maybe it will help me forget what happened.”
Mr Moustafa is the new pizza chef at Jpingo’s Flame Grill in Poplar Street, Nottingham, which opened today (Wednesday, September 29).
“I come here for work and to teach chefs how to make pizza.
“I have been in the business for 28 years. I was head chef and manager of a restaurant in Rome for 15 years,” he said.
His new job involves hand-making the dough – and spinning it in the air – in the open pizza kitchen in the centre of the restaurant.
One of his specialities will be metre-long pizza, as well as Arabic and Turkish-style pizza.
Iftikhar Ahmed, co-founder of Jpingo’s, said: “A friend of mine introduced me to him and said he’s a very good pizza guy.
“He told me what he has been through and I thought if we can get him back to normality again and help him in that sense and he can help with our business, it works both ways.
“He’s been through a lot.”