A MAN who bit off his friend’s ear lobe during a fight in St Helens town centre has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.
Liverpool Crown Court heard how Thomas Goble was embarrassed and remorseful over the incident last September.
Chris Taylor prosecuting told the court that in the early hours of September 15 last year Goble’s victim Antonio Aguilar was in St Helens after a family night out in Liverpool.
He was refused entry to the Imperial bar on Ormskirk Street and was still outside 20 minutes later when Goble and friend Joel Basnett arrived.
CCTV footage played to the court showed a scuffle between Aguliar and Basnett before a fight broke out between Aguilar and Goble.
Both were rolling on the floor as Basnett attempted to split them up.
Door staff saw that Aguilar was hurt and called the emergency services. He told police “he has bitten my ear off”.
Goble, from Seel Road in Huyton, ran off when police spoke to him but he was caught nearby.
At Whiston hospital it was found that the ear lobe was missing.
In a victim impact statement read out in court it stated that Aguilar, who had been offered reconstructive surgery, spoke of his embarrassment about his “disfigurement”.
Despite this he said that he did not want Goble to be jailed.
Paul Becker defending said that the 21-year-old, who was due to graduate from his apprenticeship as toolmaker at Jaguar, would lose his £47,000 a year job if jailed.
Mr Becker added his client "apologises to the victim and the court for his part in this most unsavoury situation”.
Goble pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm. Judge Andrew Hatton imposed a 16 month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered Goble to pay 20-year-old Aguilar £2,500 compensation within three months.
He said: "Offences of this sort are becoming increasingly common. You had lost your temper and you were out of control. Innocent people out for a pleasant evening had to witness that violence on a public street."
Judge Hatton admitted he was taking a chance with Goble and, as well as the suspended sentence and compensation, he ordered him to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.
He will also be under supervision for 12 months during which he must attend an alcohol awareness course.