Devon

Rugby player 'clamped jaw on to man's ear'

A rugby player has told a jury his ear was bitten off in a "totally unprovoked" attack by a rival player.

Avonmouth Old Boys hooker Craig Britton lost the top of his right ear during the game against Sidmouth in 2010.

Mark Unsworth, 40, of Newton Poppleford, Devon, has denied unlawful wounding, claiming the injury was caused by a clash of heads or the stud of another player's boot.

Mr Britton told Exeter Crown Court he knew "instantly" he had been bitten.

The attack is alleged to have taken place while Unsworth was lying on top of Mr Britton after a scrum collapsed.

Mr Britton, who was 23-years-old at the time of the incident, said there had been no animosity beforehand and no blows had been struck.

"I could not get him off me and he moved his mouth to my right ear and clamped his jaw into it," he told the court.

"It was very hard and it was very painful."

Mr Britton said he had experienced a lot of head clashes and boot stamping in 20 years of playing rugby and "this felt nothing like them".

"I lost a part of my ear - there was no lead-up to it," he said.

"It was totally unprovoked and has left me very cautious about what I look like. A part of my ear is missing and was never found."

Mr Paul Townsend, a plastic surgeon consultant at Frenchay Hospital, said he examined the ear a month after the incident and found the injury "consistent with a bite" and unlikely to have been caused by a head or boot.

The trial continues.

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