A PRISONER who bit a part off another inmate’s ear following a row about drugs has been jailed for a further five years and four months.

Thomas O’Reilly, aged 26, approached the victim’s cell door at HMP Portland demanding to speak to him about Spice on October 25, 2019.

Prosecutor Puneet Grewal told Bournemouth Crown Court: "Mr O’Reilly demanded something from him and the victim remembers telling him, 'no'. He reacted by shouting and kicking the door.”

The pair later saw each other in the wing, both armed with socks with a tin can inside,, intending to harm each other in a fight.

Man jeered victim with 'how's your ear?' taunt

Dorset Echo: Bournemouth Crown Court

A scuffle started which forced prison guards to intervene, but O’Reilly latched onto the victim’s left ear for approximately 17 seconds.

Ms Grewal said: “Mr O’Reilly sees him and he had what appears to be a tin in a sock and as the victim passed him, it appears that he fails to stop and there was a coming together.

“The defendant bites onto his ear and in doing so, ripped a part off.

“He said, ‘how’s your ear’ when he was separated from the victim. The part of the ear was recovered and put in ice, but they were not able to reattach it.”

The victim was left angry and distraught following the assault, the court heard.

A victim impact statement heard how he ‘never wanted this fight to start’ and how he became self-conscious about his ear and general appearance.

O’Reilly, now of HMP Liverpool who had been due to leave prison on Monday, had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent at a previous court hearing.

Recorder Daniel Sawyer was unsure why it took almost two years for O’Reilly to be sentenced for the offence. O’Reilly was only charged in February this year, with the Covid-19 pandemic cited as among the reasons for the delay.

Defendant's troubled childhood sparked life of crime and drug addiction

Defending, Justin Gau, said O’Reilly has been ‘tragically affected’ by an ‘appalling childhood’ which saw him move from various care homes and was led into a life of crime.

He also shared how his troubled early life sparked his unhealthy relationship with drugs and criminal behaviour and that O’Reilly was remorseful for his crimes.

He said: “Very shortly after he was charged, his mum died in Liverpool.

“Attempts had been made to see his mum before she died and he has suffered the loss of his closest relation.

“But it also comes to mind why there’s been an appalling delay.

“He’s supposed to be released from prison but that’s not going to happen.

He added: “It has been a long time (in prison) and he has expressed remorse in that there is a guilty plea albeit later and that he comes from a troubled background.

“He has waited almost two years to be dealt with while he’s been in prison during Covid-19 pandemic.”

Defendant caused 'unsightly' injury

Recorder Sawyer told O’Reilly: “You had bitten down on his ear and such as you were pulled away and took a piece off.

“His left earlobe is missing.

"It is an unsightly injury that is very obvious when looking at him and I have heard from his statement detailing the stress it has caused him and his mental and physical health and the cultural impact on him.”

O’Reilly was sentenced to five years and four months in prison and will serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison, with the remaining third on licence.

He was also ordered to pay a £180 victim surcharge.