Ear-biter jailed for seven years


A VIOLENT thug bit part of a victim’s ear off and tried to hide it in a police van after he was arrested.

Vicious Lee Clarke was on bail for attacking his partner when he sank his teeth into Neil Lord’s ear after a fracas broke out in a Hartlepool pub.

Police arrested Clarke and after arriving back at the police station officers found part of Mr Lord’s ear in the back of the van.

Clarke, 23, kept the section of Mr Lord’s ear in his mouth while he was being arrested.

He left his victim needing two operations and having to endure an agonising six-month wait on wheteher he needs plastic surgery.

He was jailed for seven years at Teesside Crown Court for the horrific attack and also for a sickening attack on his partner last November.

The court heard he grabbed his then partner Toni Harrison by the throat, punched her and kicked her in the head, knocking her unconscious for seven minutes.

In April this year, a melee broke out at The Rossmere pub after Craig Theasby, a pal of Clarke who was out celebrating his birthday, was asked to leave by staff because he was barred.

It led to numerous customers pushing and shoving each other.

Mr Lord, 46, who was attending a family party, tried to intervene to protect his sister during the trouble when he was attacked by Clarke from behind.

Rupert Doswell, prosecuting, said: “Clarke placed his arm around his neck and bit down on Mr Lord’s left ear.

“He was detained by police shortly after leaving the pub.

“He became aggressive and police had to use a stun device on him.

“When the van was searched they found the missing part of Mr Lord’s ear in the back.

“He must have deliberately retained it in his mouth at the time of his arrest.”

Officers put it in ice, but doctors were unable to re-attach it.

In a statement describing the effect it has had on him, Mr Lord said he is conscious about how his ear looks, needed two operations and will not know for another six months if he can have plastic surgery.

Clarke was on bail at the time for the attack on former partner Toni Harrison, 22, on November 24 last year in Church Street.

After she had been fighting with another woman, Mr Doswell said he grabbed her by the throat with both hands, punched her up to five times to the head and body before he ran towards her and kicked her to the face.

She was unconscious for seven minutes.

The attack was witnessed by police nearby and he was quickly cuffed.

Richard Herrmann, mitigating, said Clarke’s life went “completely off the rails” after drinking too much and taking drugs.

Mr Herrmann said: “He knows that he behaved atrociously on both these occasions.

“He makes no attempt to excuse his behaviour or to minimise it.”

Clarke, of Church Street, Hartlepool, admitted grievous bodily harm with intent against Mr Lord and actual bodily harm to Ms Harrison.

He also admitted possession of cocaine and cannabis and common assault against a bar worker.

Judge Howard Crowson said Ms Harrison had been “defenceless” and was lucky not to have been seriously hurt.

Referring to the ear bite he said: “It left a gruesome injury.

“The victim continues to suffer from the harm and perhaps will for the rest of his life until someone makes a decision whether plastic surgery can repair the damage.”

Theasby, of Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, was given 10-months prison suspended for 12 months after he admitted affray and breach of an Asbo during the April 29 incident.