A Wigan man who bit off the tip of another man’s nose has walked free from court after a judge heard his actions had been in self-defence.
A court heard victim John Heap had been the aggressor and had chased Craig Johnson into a Wigan nightclub where he hid behind a pillar to avoid him.
It has to be regarded as use of a weapon when someone bites someoneJudge Robert Trevor-Jones
But Mr Heap then swung a punch at him so Johnson bit him on the nose, with the tip falling to the floor.
Sentencing Johnson to a suspended sentence, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said: “It has to be regarded as use of a weapon when someone bites someone.”
But he remarked on pictures showing the success of plastic surgery and agreed that the defendant’s actions had clearly been “excessive self-defence.”
He imposed an eight-month jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 35 days’ rehabilitation activities and 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Johnson, 28, of Borsdane Avenue, Hindley, had admitted causing GBH.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that Mr Heap attended a family celebration and by the early hours of the morning had spent £50 on booze over 12 hours. The two men first met in a Wigan night club when Mr Heap was acting aggressively towards him and following a warning from door staff he was ejected and was aggressive towards door staff.
Johnson went to a kebab takeaway on King Street but was followed by Mr Heap. “The defendant was staring at him and giving him dirty looks and the complainant believed he was trying to provoke him”, said Martin Reid, prosecuting. “A witness described the two men as shouting and swearing at each other.”
Mr Heap followed Johnson when he left and chased him to The Boulevard night club. “John Heap described the defendant coming up from a pillar and then felt an immense pain to the end of his nose. The tip of his nose was recovered from the floor and placed in a solution in an attempt to preserve it. He was taken to Wigan Hospital and then to Whiston Hospital where there was greater plastic surgery expertise.”
He had an injury measuring 2cm by 2.5cm involving loss of skin and cartilage, said Mr Reid. He had a full thickness skin graft using skin from the inside of his arm, he added.
The day after the attack Johnson went to a police station and in interview admitted causing the injury but said he had acted in self-defence. He pleaded guilty on the basis of excessive self-defence.
Defending, Steven Swift said Johnson, who has severe depression, was remorseful.