UK & World News
Jail For Dad Who Bit Love Rival's Finger
A father who bit off part of a love rival's finger at a children's nativity play has been sentenced to 11 months in jail.
Lee Wilkinson, 40, fought with Michael Dent at Harton Primary School, South Shields, and bit off the tip of Mr Dent's left little finger.
The pair had been involved in a long-running feud after Mr Dent had an affair with Wilkinson's wife while he was working away, a court heard.
Bridie Smurtwaite, prosecuting, said: "They both attended the school, with Mr Dent arriving in the queue behind the defendant. When they saw each other, words were exchanged and Mr Dent suggested they go outside to have a fight.
"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."
Passing sentence Judge Simon Hickey said he was unable to suspend sentence because of the nature of the offence, which happened in December 2011.
He said: "I can't suspend the sentence, it must be immediate, although I am very conscious that it will impact on your life and your children. That is the least I can impose given my duty and what the public must view as a very serious offence."
He reduced the amount of time Wilkinson would serve in prison, taking his guilty plea, his character references and his work ethic into account.
Tom Moran, defending, said that Wilkinson had retrained as an offshore worker after he had been attacked while working as a taxi driver.
"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," he said.
"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 and just wanted to enjoy the play like the other parents who attended.