Man had part of ear bitten off in Bournemouth town centre attack — (The Daily Echo)

SSRI Ed note: Man on antidepressants drinks, makes unprovoked attack on stranger in park, bites his ear off, gets a year in jail.

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The Daily Echo

By Paula Roberts

6:37pm Tuesday 27th January 2009

A MAN who had his ear bitten off in an unprovoked assault has described his attacker as behaving like a “wild animal”.

Michael Reilly now has the top of his left ear missing following the vicious incident in Bournemouth town centre in August 2007.

Yesterday Charlie Cunning, 27, was sentenced to 12 months in jail after previously pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Outside court, Mr Reilly, 47, from Bournemouth, said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.

He said the attack had left him “wary of strangers and afraid of my own ability to defend myself”.

He added that the actions of Cunning were “incomprehensible”.

“If it had have been a dog, the dog would have been put down no questions asked.

“What he did was akin to a wild animal.”

The court heard how Cunning, of Priory Road in Southampton, and Mr Reilly had been drinking separately in the town when they crossed paths in Old Christchurch Road.

It was there that an exchange took place and the assault happened.

Desmond Duffy, prosecuting, said two witnesses reported that the defendant was trying to antagonise Mr Reilly, who tried not to get involved.

Mr Reilly told police he recalls landing on the ground and what felt like being placed in a headlock.

“I felt excruciating pain and could feel that my left ear was being bitten.

“It felt so severe that it felt like it was being bitten off.

“I remember being in agony and shouting for help.”

Mr Reilly underwent surgery and although his ear has now healed, he has a part missing.

Cunning was questioned on August 1, 2007, but failed to answer police bail six days later. He was arrested on June 18 last year.

Charles Burton, mitigating, said Cunning had no recollection of the incident, which happened in the early hours of August 1 2007, and had expressed “genuine remorse and regret”.

He said Cunning had been drinking and was taking antidepressants at the time of the attack and had also been affected after he was attacked in Bolivia.

Mr Burton said Cunning had described the attack as “wholly out of character” and had written a letter of apology to Mr Reilly.

Judge Samuel Wiggs made no separate order for Cunning’s breach of a suspended sentence