AN attacker is behind bars today for an assault described by a judge as “almost beyond comprehension”.
Terry Wade soaked Paul Shail in highly-flammable white spirit – while holding a lighter – then bit part of his ear off in an explosion of violence.
Mr Shail has been left permanently disfigured by the attack.
Judge Brian Forster jailed Wade, 21, of Cheadle Road, Hylton Castle, Sunderland, for four-and-a-half years.
The judge said: “We are not just concerned with the injury.
“This was a pretty bad incident where white spirit or something was poured over someone and the defendant has got a lighter.
“Having white spirit and pouring it on to somebody, one can’t think of a more terrifying situation.
“Even if he was just answering for that alone, the sentence would be significant.
“This was as incident that came out of almost nothing.
“He was involved in punching the victim and then there was a determined attack in which he used his teeth as a weapon to bite off part of the victim’s right ear.
“To have liquid poured over oneself in this type of situation is almost beyond comprehension.”
The court heard the attack happened in July last year at a house in Sunderland.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: “For no reason, he threw turpentine or white spirit over him while in possession of a lighter before assaulting him in an unprovoked attack.”
The court heard Wade was drunk when he carried out the assault and has just a partial recollection of what he did to his victim, who was left in shock.
He did not attempt to ignite the white spirit after it was poured on to the victim.
Bob Spragg, defending, said: “If he had poured it, then put the lighter on it, might make the situation far worse.
“He bit this man’s ear and he accepts that. He has no recollection of the other part of the incident.
“I accept it would have been frightening.”
Wade had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.