Glasgow & West Scotland

Man given probation over Glasgow ear bite attack

Thomas Reid
Image caption Reid was told he would have been jailed if arrested after the attack

A man who bit off part of another man's ear in a street attack in Glasgow has avoided a prison sentence because he was not caught until seven years later.

Thomas Reid, 26, admitted attacking 49-year-old Stephen Howe in May 2003 in the city's Cowcaddens area.

He was caught after giving a DNA sample in connection with another incident.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court, Reid heard he would have been jailed if arrested in 2003. He received 18 months probation and 300 hours community service.

Earlier, the court heard how Mr Howe had been out for a stag night when he came across Reid and his girlfriend in an underpass in Cowcaddens and tried to stop them arguing.

Reid started struggling with him and as he tried to fend him off Mr Howe could feel himself being bitten.

It was only when back home that he discovered part of his left ear was missing.

Mr Howe went to hospital and reported the incident to the police. He also returned to the underpass and found the missing part of his ear which he handed in to police.

The court was told that Mr Howe had to have an operation on his ear to close the wound and a DNA sample was taken but his attacker was not found at the time.

It was seven years later when Reid, from Parkhouse, Glasgow, was giving a DNA sample in connection with another case that he was linked to Mr Howe's assault.

He later admitted assaulting Mr Howe and biting his ear at the Garscube Road underpass on 31 May 2003.

Sentencing Reid, Sheriff Norman Ritchie told him that he would have faced a lengthy custodial sentence if he had been arrested at the time.

'Paid price'

Sheriff Ritchie said: "I think that the passage of time is such that it would be inappropriate for me to impose a sentence of imprisonment.

"If you had been traced back in 2003 you would have had a lengthy prison sentence imposed."

The sheriff added: "Mr Howe had been drinking that night but he still knew the right thing to do when he was concerned by how you were behaving towards your girlfriend.

"What he did was entirely appropriate but by God he paid the price for trying to help."

Sheriff Ritchie also ordered Reid to pay his victim £2,000 in compensation.

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