Chunk of man’s ear bitten off in Harrogate pub fight

York Crown Court
York Crown Court
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A man had part of his ear bitten off during a fight in a Harrogate pub.

The incident left the victim needing reconstructive surgery after losing the tip of his ear.

It’s due only to the skill of the surgeons that the (victim) has not permanently lost that part of his ear

Judge Stephen Ashurst

The attack took place in the Alexandra pub in Harrogate town centre, where Benjamin Pitt, 22, took a “sizeable” chunk out of the victim’s ear as they grappled on the floor.

York Crown Court heard that the fight started after Pitt made advances towards an ex-partner who was having a drink with a group of friends, including the victim.

Pitt was harassing the woman and accusing of her lying, prompting a scuffle during which one of her friends threw Pitt to the floor and aimed several punches at him.

“The defendant threw one punch back and the two men fell to the floor,” said prosecuting barrister Michael Smith.

“The defendant bit down on the victim’s ear, biting off a part of the top of the ear.”

Some of the women in the party tried to break up the fight and Pitt was escorted off the premises. As he was ushered away, he lashed out and caught one of the women in the face with an elbow, causing a black eye.

The man who had been bitten on the ear was “bleeding profusely”, said Mr Smith.

He was taken to Harrogate District Hospital but had to be transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for reconstructive surgery.

Pitt, of Avenue Close, Harrogate, surrendered himself to police the following day. He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, as well as common assault against the female.

He appeared in court for sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to both offences.

Mr Smith said the shocking incident occurred at about 10pm on October 1 last year at the pub formerly known as the Rat and Parrot in Prospect Place.

He said Pitt had walked over to the group of friends who were sat minding their own business. One of the friends was a former girlfriend of Pitt whom he was alleged to have been violent towards her during their relationship.

The woman, who was on a date with one of the men in the party, had earlier been sent a text by Pitt telling her he knew where she was.

The court heard that Pitt, a father-of-two, had previous convictions for 32 offences including violence, public disorder and criminal damage.

Defence lawyer David Camige said that Pitt, a qualified joiner, had an alcohol problem at the time.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Pitt: “It’s due only to the skill of the surgeons that the (victim) has not permanently lost that part of his ear.”

However, he deferred sentence for five months to give Pitt the chance to prove that he could stay out of trouble and keep off drink.

Mr Ashurt told him that if committed no further offences between now and the sentence date of October 22, he would consider a community punishment rather than an immediate jail sentence.