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Man jailed for biting off part of peacemaker’s ear in Carlisle bar

Andrew Sword

A man who attacked a Carlisle city centre pub peacemaker, biting off part of his ear “like an animal”, has been jailed for three years.

James Laws had stepped in to prevent further trouble as drunken Andrew Sword turned aggressive and punched another patron as the three were inside a toilet at Botchergate’s Havana bar just after 3am on January 31, 2019.

During a scuffle, Mr Laws took hold of Sword to remove him from the venue but the 33-year-old grabbed and pulled him backwards into the ladies’ toilet where he “bit down hard” on Mr Laws’ ear, Carlisle Crown Court was told today.

Mr Laws struck Sword to get him to let go, but he didn’t. Sword was dragged off but was still biting.

“As he was dragged away, he felt his ear rip,” prosecutor Neil Bisarya said of Mr Laws. “He was covered in blood.”

The top of Mr Laws’ ear was missing when he attended Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary with a loss of cartilage and surrounding skin.

He was keen to have costly plastic surgery for an injury which would have a “lasting cosmetic effect” having received “horrific” comments from strangers since the incident.

In an impact statement, Mr Laws also described the profound and ongoing impact of the attack, including nightmares, anxiety and shock.

“All I thought about was the unprovoked, vicious attack and why a human being would do that to another; how the male’s actions were like that of an animal not another person,” he stated.

“I have never been the same since the incident and I know I will never be the same again.”

Sword, previously of Carlisle and now of Naworth, near Brampton, was convicted of unlawful wounding after a trial, and had a past conviction for serious violence.

Described as remorseful, he was backed by a raft of positive character references which spoke of him as a “hard-working, caring family man” with a good work ethic.

He had also taken steps to reduce his drinking.

But, jailing Sword, Recorder Tom Gilbart concluded immediate custody was the only possible punishment.

“This was a deeply unpleasant assault,” said the judge.

“In an animalistic way you persisted in biting your victim’s ear and ripped it off with your teeth as the victim was pulled away from you. It was a savage way to assault someone.”

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