Rugby player accused of ear bite attack cleared

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A rugby player accused of biting off part of an opponent's ear in a scrum has been cleared of unlawful wounding.

Exeter Crown Court had heard Sidmouth prop Mark Unsworth, 39, bit the right ear of Avonmouth hooker Craig Britton at a match in 2010.

But Judge Phillip Wassall told the jury to return a not guilty verdict after hearing evidence Mr Britton tampered with website pictures of the game.

The judge said it had undermined the reliability of Mr Britton's testimony.

Two-year ban

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard Mr Britton lost the tip of his ear in a collapsed scrum during a South West One league game between Sidmouth and Bristol's Avonmouth Old Boys on 23 October 2010.

The missing part of his ear was never found.

Former soldier Mr Unsworth, of Newton Poppleford in Devon, claimed the injury was caused by a clash of heads or the stud of another player's boot.

However, he was banned from rugby for two years in 2011 after an inquiry by the RFU and an appeal hearing at Twickenham.

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