Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Face-Bite Thug Facing Jail for Vicious Attack

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Face-Bite Thug Facing Jail for Vicious Attack

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Reporter

A CLUBBER who sank his teeth into another man's face at a Middlesbrough nightspot is facing a long prison sentence today.

John Stephenson, 42, bit a man's cheek at Club Bongo International then took off his blood-soaked shirt and carried on his night out, a court heard.

He later sent a string of text messages repeatedly using the term "lol" - laugh out loud - when discussing the assault at the Bridge Street West club.

He was unanimously convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Teesside Crown Court last night.

He admitted biting the victim's left cheek, but claimed he acted in self defence.

Jurors cleared him of slashing the man's face during the same fracas, in the early hours of October 27 last year.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann said Stephenson was pushed by the other man and bit him as revenge, to save face and restore his pride.

He said: "You latched on to him like a fighting dog, didn't you? "You latched your teeth as deep and as hard into that man's cheek as you could possibly muster the strength, didn't you?" Stephenson told jurors: "I got hold of him, put my arms around him. I just bit him. I don't know how hard. I was frightened for my life. I was defending myself. I was fighting for my life."

Trouble erupted after a argument in a smoking area referred to as the "cage" in the Bongo club.

Stephenson, who had drunk 13 to 20 bottles of lager after a family wedding that day, claimed the victim hit him over the head with a bottle.

He said he woke up on the floor on his hands and knees, jumped up and bit the other man.

He denied slashing the victim's face "from top to bottom", telling the court: "It must have been somebody else. It wasn't me."

He was not seen with a weapon.

The jury acquitted him of wounding with intent and unlawful wounding over the slashing allegation.

In a series of texts, Stephenson later wrote: "Just some lad in Bongo. …

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