Published: 14:03, 28 January 2022
| Updated: 14:51, 28 January 2022
A thug who bit off part of a rival’s ear at a holiday park has been told to expect a spell behind bars.
Danny Gray, who tore off more than an inch of his victim’s left ear, was today cleared of wounding Joe Hart with intent.
Prosecutors argued Gray was “smiling while chewing” the body part after the attack, with Mr Hart claiming he then “waved my bit of ear about”.
Yet Gray alleged he clenched his teeth “as hard as I could” in self-defence while in a choke-hold, but had not intended to bite off the ear.
He rejected claims he then "waved around" the body-part, arguing he was trying to return it to Mr Hart's group.
A row flared up between the pair at Birchington Vale Holiday Park, Birchington, in the early hours of February 6 last year.
Mr Hart, who lived on the site, told jurors a friend texted that morning saying her caravan “had been invaded – I need help”.
Gray and about eight others were drinking in the mobile home when Mr Hart and his friend tried ushering them to leave, the court heard.
But a fight broke out between Gray and Mr Hart, who had also been drinking, jurors were told.
“He took me into a headlock and bit off my left ear,” Mr Hart said.
“He was grinding his teeth and bit through my ear. I could feel him chewing.
“I shouted out ‘he is biting my ear off’.”
When prosecutors asked what happened after he became free, Mr Hart replied: “I looked down at him, he had blood around his mouth, smiling at me.”
Police were called at about 4.10am and Mr Hart was rushed to hospital before being transferred to Ashford’s William Harvey.
Officers discovered more than an inch-long piece of Mr Hart’s left upper helix discarded at the campsite shortly after the fight was reported.
Medics cleaned and sealed Mr Hart’s wound as police worked at the scene and arrested Gray.
Doctors told Mr Hart the loss of tissue would heal, however he would suffer a cosmetic deformity, prosecutors said.
Gray would maintain he acted in self-defence throughout the trial after Mr Hart rugby tackled and placed him in a choke-hold.
Speaking from the stand, Gray said: “When I think about that night - it makes me feel sick.
“That is not how I wanted the situation to turn out - I felt horrible about it, horrible.”
Asked what he believed would happen with a full-forced bite to the ear, Gray said: “I didn’t think at the time, I was scared.
“The most scary thing is I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see anything, it was a scary situation,” he added.
Gray, of Gordon Road in Westwood, will be sentenced in March pending probation reports.
The judge, Recorder Matthew McDonagh, told Gray that despite him being granted conditional bail, he should expect a jail term.
“You have been convicted of a serious offence.
"The sentence which follows will almost immediately require a sentence of immediate imprisonment."