Ear biter Lee Clarke jailed for seven years

An attacker who bit off part of a man's ear and hid it in a police van has been jailed for seven years.

Lee Clarke was on bail awaiting sentencing for kicking his girlfriend when he bit Neil Lord at the Rosmere pub in Hartlepool in April.

After his arrest the 23-year-old hid the ear part in a police van, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Clarke admitted wounding with intent and the actual bodily harm of his girlfriend in a separate attack.

He was given five and a half years for the attack on Mr Lord on 21 April.

Clarke was also given 18 months to run consecutively for kicking his girlfriend unconscious on 24 November last year.

The court heard that after the attack on Mr Lord, Clarke kept the ear part in his mouth then hid it when he was arrested.

'Gruesome injury'

It was eventually found by police, but surgeons were unable to reattach it to Mr Lord.

Richard Herrmann, defending, said Clarke, who has drink and drug problems, knew he had behaved "atrociously".

Prosecutor Rupert Doswell said that Clarke's victim would have to undergo many operations on his ear.

Clarke claimed that he was going to the aid of a friend when he attacked Mr Lord.

Mr Herrmann said: "He knows that he has behaved atrociously, and he knows that he has to serve a very considerable period of imprisonment, and he knows that he deserves to."

Judge Howard Crowson told Clarke: "There was no good reason for what you did.

"You bit off his ear and it left a gruesome injury, and although the wound has healed it left him with a deformed ear."