A CHIVALROUS man had his ear bitten off when he went to the aid of a woman who was tussling on the ground with her boyfriend.
David Barnes intervened to help Megan Noble because he believed she was in danger from angry boyfriend Steven Fletcher, Gloucester Crown Court was told on Wednesday.
But in the ensuing struggle, Fletcher, of Devereaux Crescent, Ebley, Stroud, ripped off the top half of Mr Barnes’ ear with his teeth.
Fletcher admitted unlawfully wounding Mr Barnes on February 3, 2013, but said it happened by accident when he was defending himself.
A trial of issue was held so both men could give evidence for Judge William Hart to determine what happened. The judge concluded that Fletcher bit into Mr Barnes’ ear because he was fearful he would come off worst in the fight.
Mr Barnes told the judge he decided to wade in and help because he had seen his own mother being beaten up by her partners during his childhood and he hated violence against women.
The judge said he considered Fletcher’s offence merited a prison sentence of around 18 months and the issue would be whether he could suspend it or not. He bailed Fletcher for a pre-sentence report and said he would pass sentence on March 20.
Mr Barnes told the court he and Fletcher had both been at a friend’s house party in Stroud.
During the evening Fletcher began getting “heavy handed” and aggressive with Miss Noble and was grabbing her hair, said Mr Barnes.
The couple then left but soon afterwards there was a phone call from another friend saying that Fletcher was attacking Miss Noble, he said.
“I saw her and Steve tussling with each other,” he said. “She was on the floor noticeably distressed.”
He said he and Fletcher wrestled and as he got up a shocked woman friend saw that his ear had been bitten off.
He told the court that despite surgical grafting the injury had caused him a lot of discomfort and embarssment since the attack.
Fletcher said his girlfriend was on the floor because she had fallen. He accepted that he put his teeth around Mr Barnes’ ear but said that in the struggle the ear “just came away” and he had not intended to bite it off.
Judge Hart said that although Mr Barnes had previous convictions for violence he preferred his version of what happened.