COURT: Harrogate ear bite man spared jail spell

Pitt appeared at York Crown Court for the second time in 2015
Pitt appeared at York Crown Court for the second time in 2015

A Harrogate father-of-two who bit part of a man’s ear off has been spared a prison sentence for the second time this year.

Ben Pitt took a “sizeable” chunk out of the victim’s ear as they grappled on the floor of the Alexandra bar in Prospect Place, Harrogate.

The act of violence left the victim needing reconstructive surgery to save part of the ear which was bitten off.

Earlier this year, Pitt, 22, was given a suspended prison sentence at York Crown Court. The suspension was conditional upon him completing 100 hours’ unpaid work.

Pitt missed several appointments and was hauled back before the court with prison looming large after he admitted breaching the order.

But the father-of-two avoided spending Christmas behind bars after Recorder Simon Baptiste decided to give him one last chance to comply with the order because it was his first breach.

“Your attendance (at the unpaid work) has been pathetic, but I have just decided that you could be committed to do the order the court has made. This is your one and only chance,” said Mr Baptiste.

Pitt, of Avenue Close, Harrogate, said he missed the appointments because he had been busy with his own paid job and was too “ashamed” to tell his boss that he had unpaid-work commitments for a criminal conviction.

Back in May, Judge Stephen Ashurst, the Recorder of York, gave Pitt a nine-month sentence, suspended for nine months, after he admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The attack happened at about 10pm on October 1 last year, when Pitt got into an argument with a group of friends which included his ex-partner.

Pitt, who had been drinking heavily, started harassing her, prompting a scuffle during which one of her male friends, the victim, threw Pitt to the floor. During the struggle, Pitt bit the man, tearing off a piece of his ear.

The severed piece of flesh was later found in the bar.

The victim, who was bleeding “profusely”, had to undergo emergency plastic surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

Smith has 16 previous convictions for 32 offences including violence, public disorder and criminal damage.

For breaching the suspended sentence, Mr Baptiste added 20 hours to the outstanding hours on Pitt’s unpaid-work order. He also ordered him to pay £85 costs.