Laughing ear biter is jailed

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A VICIOUS thug who gloated to a friend after biting off a man’s ear has been jailed for 12 years.

John Price completely severed his victim’s ear after gnawing at it like a bull terrier, a court heard.

He later sent a gloating text message to a friend that said: “I’m on the run...for biting a whole ear off - LOL” - text slang for ‘laugh out loud’.

Surgeons may be able to offer the victim a prosthetic ear, but his hearing is permanently damaged.

A jury heard Price and the victim met at a friend’s house in Cumbrian Way, Peterlee, where they drank beer and smoked cannabis until the early hours.

“It seems an argument broke out,” said Tom Moran, prosecuting at Durham Crown Court. “The victim left the room and went upstairs.

“As he came downstairs he was confronted by Price and there was a scuffle during which Price threw a punch and missed, and the victim landed two blows in return.

“Things seemed to calm down and the pair returned to the lounge.”

The court was told the victim was unable to say what happened next.

“I recall being on the floor in front of the sofa,” he said. “Pricey was on his knees growling and grunting like a wild animal.

“He was biting my ear like a Staffie on a teddy bear.

“The pain was terrible, he just carried on biting until my ear came off, I think I blacked out.”

Price, 28, of Hardwick Street, Horden, denied wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm on April 28 last year.

He claimed he acted in self-defence, but was convicted by the jury.

Jailing Price for 12 years, Judge Christopher Prince told him: “There was a scuffle between you and the victim after a trivial argument and that is where this should have ended.

“You then used your teeth as a weapon and were determined to cause the most serious injury.

“There is no mitigation for this offence, and there can be no reduction in the sentence because you maintained your plea of not guilty.”