COURT: Chunk of man's ear bitten off during Harrogate pub fight

The case was heard at York Crown Court
The case was heard at York Crown Court

A 22-year-old man has been given a suspended prison sentence for biting off part of a man’s ear during a fight in a town-centre pub.

Ben Pitt took a “sizeable” chunk out of the victim’s ear as they grappled on the floor of the Alexandra bar in Prospect Place, Harrogate.

The act of violence left the victim needed reconstructive surgery to save part of the ear which was bitten off.

Pitt was arrested and admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He appeared for deferred sentence at York Crown Court on Thursday after a judge gave him one last chance to mend his ways and avoid an immediate jail sentence.

Prosecuting barrister Nicholas Smith said the savage attack happened at about 10pm on October 1 last year, when Pitt got into an argument with a group of friends which included his ex-partner.

Pitt, who had been drinking heavily, started harassing her, prompting a scuffle during which one of her friends - the victim - threw Pitt to the floor.

During the struggle, Pitt bit the victim, tearing off a “fairly neat chunk of the top of the ear”. The severed piece of flesh was later found in the bar.

As Pitt was escorted off the premises, he lashed out again and caught one of the female revellers in the face with an elbow, causing a black eye.

The male victim, who was bleeding “profusely”, was taken to Harrogate District Hospital but had to be transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for emergency plastic surgery to his ear.

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

Mr Smith said the father-of-two had previous convictions for 32 offences including violence, public disorder and criminal damage.

Defence lawyer David Camige said that Pitt, who works as a window-fitter, had an alcohol problem at the time.

He added that since the incident Pitt had “kept his side of the bargain” by staying off the drink and keeping out of trouble.

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.”

He added, however, that there was “more to the incident than meets the eye”.

He gave Pitt a nine-month prison sentence, but suspended this for nine months because he had kept out of trouble. Pitt was also ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work.