St Neots man given six years in jail for biting off man’s ear

MAN who had drunk what a judge described as “a vast amount of cider” and then bit off most of another man’s ear in St Neots town centre has been sentenced to six years in prison.

A MAN who had drunk what a judge described as “a vast amount of cider” and then bit off most of another man’s ear was sentenced to six years in prison at Huntingdon Crown Court on Monday.

Douglas Witterick, 29, an apprentice tattooist from Love’s Way, St Neots, had pleaded guilty at a hearing in February to two counts of threats to kill, possessing an offensive weapon, two counts of assault, affray and grievous bodily harm.

Tim Bowden, prosecuting, told the court that on December 5 last year, Witterick had approached two doormen at the Unique Club in St Neots, asking them: “What happened last night?” and then punched each of them.

Mr Bowden said Mr Witterick had believed they had refused entry to the club the previous night to someone he knew. Witterick had said: “I’ll kill you, I’m coming back to stab you.”

Witterick and his companion, Barry Angus, 28, from Child’s Pond Road, St Neots had then gone to a cash point, where Witterick forced a man withdrawing cash to give them a lift in his car (containing two passengers, a man and a woman) to his home at Love’s Way.

When Witterick reached his house and went in to collect a knife, Angus stayed in the car to prevent the driver and passengers escaping.

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The car returned to the Unique Club where Witterick and Angus got out and the hi-jacked driver and his passengers drove off in terror, the court heard .

Mr Bowden said: “After he got out of the car, Witterick started waving the knife saying to the doormen: ‘Come on, one-on-one, I’m going to stab you’. The doormen went inside the club and called the police.”

The police found Witterick later in the Cornerhouse pub where officers interrupted him in a fight with a man named in court as Stuart Hay.

Mr Bowden said: “Witterick bit off over half Mr Hay’s ear, that ear was never recovered. As the police arrived, Witterick still had Mr Hay in a headlock with his fingers in his mouth. Someone said ‘Old Bill’ and he released Mr Hay.”

The court heard that Witterick had previous convictions going back 14 years to 1996 when he was a juvenile, for criminal damage, theft, burglary, assault, actual bodily harm, robbery and kidnap.

John Kirkpatrick representing him said he had not offended for seven years. He had achieved enhanced status by good behaviour while on remand in prison, where he had taken courses on alcohol and victim awareness.

Mr Kirkpatrick said: “He accepts that he behaved disgracefully. He is genuinely remorseful for what he did in that drunken state. He wants to put this behaviour behind him and stay with his partner and their children aged three and a few weeks.”

Witterick was given two sentences of nine months for threats to kill, five months for possession of an offensive weapon, two sentences of four months for the assaults on the doormen, 18 months for coercing the car driver and six years for grievous bodily harm after biting off Mr Hay’s ear. All the sentences are concurrent.

The term of his licence on release was extended so that if he is released after three years, he will be on licence for eight years after that.

Sentencing him, Judge Nicholas Coleman told him: “It was a savage attack. To take his ear off was an astonishing mind set on your part. You present a serious risk of harm.”

The court heard that Angus, who had never been to prison before, had been held on remand for 161 days before being released in May on a curfew with an electronic tag. He had one previous offence of criminal damage, receiving a community order of 12 months in January 2008. James McCrindell representing him said Angus planned to move to Hitchen where his previous employers had offered him his job back as a laser test engineer. He was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for 18 months.