A TEENAGE offender already branded ‘dangerous’ by a senior judge carried out a sudden attack on another youth at a young people’s secure unit.
The 15-year-old was previously involved in two violent clashes involving the same youth and a risk management plan was in place to keep them apart at Aycliffe Secure Centre.
But, Durham Crown Court heard that on April 26, as the victim was being escorted down a corridor, the defendant emerged from an afternoon music class.
Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said, seeing his ‘adversary’ from those incidents, he pushed past a female staff member, threw a flurry of punches, took him in a head lock and bit into his ear.
As other members of staff approached he pulled back and appeared to spit a severed piece of the ear from his mouth.
Mr Newcombe said a 20-millimetre area of skin was missing from the top of the victim’s ear, exposing the cartilage.
The 14-year-old victim faces potential permanent deformity of the ear, which is very sensitive in different temperatures.
Despite his relatively young age, Mr Newcombe read out a list of antecedent offences committed by the defendant.
It culminated in a 62-month sentence in February, for wounding with intent and attempted robbery of his victim, who he stabbed in the arm at a party.
The QC passing sentence found him to be a “dangerous” offender, posing significant risk of further serious offences.
He was sent to the Aycliffe Secure Centre shortly before being sentenced for the knife attack.
Following the April attack, he admitted wounding with intent.
Frances Pencheon, mitigating, said after being admitted to Aycliffe he intervened in a fight involving the victim of the later ear-biting attack and a teacher, but was then punched in the face by the same youth during a game of football in retaliation for that intervention.
Miss Pencheon said despite the attempts to keep the pair apart, it was, “the perfect storm” as their paths inadvertently crossed.
“Clearly there was an atmosphere between them. He felt something was going to happen, and the red mist came down.
“It lasted only eight seconds and was an impulsive, opportunistic attack, with no thought to the consequences.”
Miss Pencheon said it led to the defendant receiving two weeks in the centre’s segregation unit.
But he has since been transferred to Wetherby Young Offenders’ Institution, which he has responded to well, improving in his education classes while seeking to address his anger management issues.
The court heard his existing earliest release date is November 2021, but Judge James Adkin said such an “explosive and unprovoked” assault deserved of further punishment of 32 months’ detention, beginning at the end of his existing sentence.