A student who had part of his finger bitten off in an unprovoked assault has branded his attacker’s sentence “unacceptable.”
Traumatised Michael Connell lost the top of his middle finger after surgeons were unable to perform a transplant.
Steve Hubbard, 60, was today handed a suspended prison sentence at Maidstone Crown Court after pleading guilty to unlawful wounding.
The violence erupted after Hubbard accused Mr Connell, 22, of disrespecting his daughter Megan at The Milk House in Sissinghurst, where she is a manager.
Businessman Hubbard loomed over and grabbed hold of Mr Connell as he sat with friends.
During a struggle Mr Connell’s finger became lodged between Hubbard’s teeth.
As both men were pulled away the body part became detached, showing the finger bone, prosecutors said.
The engineering student was forced to desperately search the bar floor for around a minute for his fingertip, CCTV showed.
Mr Connell, of Cranbrook, stood just metres from his attacker to describe the “agony and anguish” he suffered following the events on the evening of November 30, 2018.
He told how the attack destroyed his dream of becoming an electrician.
“I had just arrived and I became the victim of an unprovoked attack - I will remember this day forever,” he continued.
“I will never forget the fear and pain of that night and for the months, the years that followed.
“It took me well over a year to get over my trauma… I do not feel safe in the town where I was brought up.
“I’m a kind, generous, hard-working person who has never been in a fight or trouble with the police.”
Speaking moments after the hearing, he added: “For me to have to have gone through an amputation and for him to not have to go to prison - I don’t think that’s very acceptable.”
Despite Mr Connell finding the missing part of his finger, surgeons were unable to reconnect it, prosecutors explained.
“The defendant had been drinking in the pub, Mr Connell ordered some drinks and sat down in the bar area.
“He was approached by the defendant who leaned over him and said ‘you were rude to my daughter,” Craig Evans prosecuting said.
When Mr Connell said ‘I don’t know your daughter’ Hubbard grabbed hold of him triggering a struggle, Mr Evans explained.
“He was released a few seconds later and noticed his right middle finger had been severed over the knuckle.
“Unfortunately his finger could not be reconnected, he had an amputation of his right middle finger, he was not deemed suitable for a transplant of the right middle finger,” the lawyer explained.
Following his arrest Hubbard denied biting and argued he acted in self-defence.
He also claimed Mr Connell’s injuries were caused by broken glass, with the six pints of Guinness and one vodka and coke he consumed having not affected his behaviour.
Meanwhile the Canterbury Christ Church University student would undergo three rounds of operations to remove his distal phalange, while a further appointment is in the pipeline, Mr Evans said.
The bite was “reckless” and “not pre-meditated”, with Hubbard believing Mr Connell was rude to his daughter at the bar, his lawyer said in mitigation.
“As Mr Connell was being pulled away and Mr Hubbard was being pulled away, that is when the bite occurred.
“Mr Hubbard does accept he was at least reckless as he bit Mr Connell’s finger as it was lodged in his mouth,” Richard Barraclough QC explained.
"You have had a completely unblemished life before this event and it is entirely correct to say this offence was completely out of character..."
He added Hubbard was a “well respected businessman” who runs a specialist lighting company for theatres and professional events.
Mr Barraclough QC claimed the business would fold if Hubbard, a former BT engineer, was immediately jailed.
References handed to the court described Hubbard as a “hard-working family man” and a “big softie,” Mr Barraclough QC continued.
And Hubbard, of previous good character, felt “deep remorse” after acting out of character, said Mr Barraclough QC, who said Hubbard suffered osteoporosis, diabetes and hypertension.
Judge Jeremy Donne QC ordered Hubbard to compensate “clearly intelligent” Mr Connell £15,000.
“You have heard this morning Mr Connell describe in very clear terms the impact the events of that night had upon him.
“Fortunately the results of the injury have not been as catastrophic as they might otherwise have been,” he said.
“Mr Connell is clearly an intelligent young man reading for a career in engineering, that is fortunate, because his previous career was thwarted by you.
“You are 60-years-old, you are a hard working family man, you have had a completely unblemished life before this event and it is entirely correct to say this offence was completely out of character.”
Hubbard, of The Street, was handed eight months suspended for 18 months, must complete 120 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation requirement activity days.