Tyne & Wear

South Shields father jailed after biting man's finger

A father has been jailed for 11 months after he bit off part of another man's finger at a nativity play.

Lee Wilkinson, 40, pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court in December to unlawful wounding and a separate public order offence.

Wilkinson bit off the tip of Michael Dent's little finger. No children saw the assault.

It happened in December 2011 at Harton Primary School, South Tyneside, following an argument between the men.

'Bit hard'

The court heard that the pair had been involved in a long-running feud after Mr Dent had an affair with Wilkinson's wife.

Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, said: "A scuffle broke out and during the fight Mr Dent put his hand in the defendant's mouth. The defendant then bit hard on the finger.

"Mr Dent forcibly pulled his hand away and the injury then occurred."

Judge Simon Hickey said he was unable to suspend sentence because of the nature of the offence.

He said he had reduced the amount of time Wilkinson will serve in prison due to his guilty pleas, his character references and his work ethic.

'Animosity and hostility'

Tom Moran, defending, said Wilkinson had retrained as an offshore worker after he had been attacked working as a taxi driver.

He said: "He wanted to be able to support his wife and three young children and he was working away providing for his family on one such occasion when his wife started a relationship with Mr Dent.

"The relationship became serious and the defendant separated from his wife. That gave rise to a large amount of animosity and hostility."

He said Wilkinson did not know that Mr Dent was going to be at the school.

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