Man had ear cartilage bitten off during brawl at Sheffield students' union
A Sheffield student has narrowly avoided prison, after he drunkenly bit part of a man's ear off who was trying to diffuse a brawl that had broken out in the students' union.
The altercation broke out at the Sheffield Hallam students' union on the evening of September 30 last year, when 20-year-old Keagan Abbey had drunk a large amount of vodka with his housemates before leaving the house.
When he arrived at the students' union in Paternoster Row it was extremely crowded and Abbey, of Trafalgar Street, Sheffield city centre became embroiled in a fist fight with another student he believed had barged into him, explained Neil Coxon, prosecuting.
The student fighting with Abbey was accidentally pushed to the floor, when an unknown woman attempted to break up the fight.
But believing Abbey had pushed his friend to the floor, the complainant in the case became involved in the fight and pushed Abbey against the wall.
"The complainant moved forward and it was then that the defendant bit part of his left ear off," added Mr Coxon.
Following the incident, the complainant - also a student - was left with part of his ear cartilage missing.
In a statement read out in court, the man said: "I was purely trying to intervene in a situation where my friend was being assaulted.
"I pushed him away, and he threw a few punches. His attack on me was completely unprovoked."
Defending, Digby Johnson told the court that Abbey was a young man of good character who had never been in trouble with the law before.
"All of his friends, all of his family say the same thing - that this is completely out of character," he said.
Abbey admitted to the offence at an earlier hearing.
Mr Johnson added that since the incident took place Abbey had withdrawn from university life, taking lectures in online instead of in person - and had made attempts to apologise to his victim.
In mitigation, Mr Johnson added that Abbey's mum and step-father had saved almost Â£1,000 they hoped to be able to give to his victim in order to demonstrate Abbey's remorse for his actions.
Judge Paul Watson QC sentenced Abbey to 12 months in prison, and said he was 'just about' able to suspend the custodial sentence for a period of 18 months.
He said: "I am just about, just about prepared to take the course recommended in the pre-sentence report and suspend the sentence."
He added: "The complainant suffered a really, really bad tear to his ear and has been left with a disfigurement. I don't know the effect that's likely to have in the long-term, but it's likely to have some sort of effect."
Judge Watson ordered Abbey to pay Â£1,000 in compensation to his victim and to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.