Prisoner admits biting off part of inmates’ ears

File image. © Andrew Bardwell
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

A teenage prisoner has admitted biting part of the ear off two inmates after incidents at Christchurch and Otago prisons.

William Alexander Hamish Grant, 19, pleaded guilty to charges of disfiguring the men with intent to cause grievous bodily.

Judge Michael Crosbie remanded him in custody for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court on March 18, and read him the first strike warning that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said the defence was getting a psychological report prepared ahead of the sentencing.

Crown prosecutor Pip Currie described the first incident which took place in the Otago Correctional Facility in Milton, near Dunedin, on January 17.

In an altercation in the changing room-toilet area near the kitchen, Grant bit off part of the other man’s ear. The man had surgery at Dunedin Hospital to reattach the ear, but it was not successful.

On April 19, Grant was a prisoner in the Rawhiti Wing at Christchurch Men’s Prison. He and the victim worked in the kitchen where they had a “physical altercation” but shook hands and moved on at the end of it.

At 11am, the victim was lying on the bed in his cell, with the door unlocked, when Grant went into the cell and began punching him around the head and face. He then bit 10mm to 12mm off the top of his ear.

The bite clearly showed the marks of Grant’s teeth, and Grant had blood on him, including around his mouth. He spat out the part of the ear and left the cell.

The victim was taken to Christchurch Hospital for surgery to reattach the part of the ear but it was eventually unsucccessful and the victim was left permanently disfigured.

The victim also had bruising to his face.

When spoken to, Grant neither confirmed nor denied the assault.

In 2012 when he was 16, Grant was sentenced in the Dunedin District Court to three-and-a-half years jail for a prolonged attack on his 15-year-old ex-girlfriend which including beating and choking her, trying to push her head under water in the bath, stomping on her head, and biting her nose.

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft said that attack occurred during “a deep, black, violent rage” which Grant was incapable of controlling.

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