A drunken reveller who bit part of a man’s ear off and shouted homophobic abuse during a dispute on a night out in Derbyshire has been jailed for more than four years.
Reece Wilde, 27, called Daniel Hooper a “f****t”, shouted “do you want a fight” and “you don’t want to mess with me, I’m from Jordanthorpe” and threatened to bite Mr Hooper’s ear off before doing so and running away outside Einstein’s in Holywell Street, Chesterfield, at around 3.50am on Friday, August 20, 2021.
Mr Hooper, who had made a sarcastic comment about Wilde’s baldness, was left needing plastic surgery following the incident and has been left self-conscious of his injuries when meeting new people.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Alan Murphy, Mr Hooper said: “At hospital there was little initial treatment that they could give me.
“I have had several hospital appointments to ensure my wound is healing correctly.
“When the incident first happened I felt a loss of self confidence but I felt that I took it all in my stride. But It had a bigger impact on me than my initial belief. I did not go to work for several weeks and whenever I went out I would cover my wound with hats and bandanas to hide it.
“I was having a rough time and the injury was having a significant impact on me. I was diagnosed with suffering from low moods and some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“When I meet new people I am conscious about my ear. I clam up and don’t want to discuss the topic. I have become more hesitant and nervous in new situations. I has impacted on my family. My mother has become more protective over me and my brother.”
Mr Murphy told Derby Crown Court, sitting at Chesterfield Justice Centre, that Mr Hooper was out to celebrate a friend’s 22nd birthday party in Chesterfield on the evening of Thursday, August 19 2021.
While visiting The Association nightclub in Corporation Street, Mr Hooper and his group began having a friendly chat with two women, one of whom was wearing an LED light-up hat given to her by Wilde earlier in the night.
As they all left, Wilde approached the woman asking for his hat to be returned, which she gave to him, but he continued to speak to her in a manner which Mr Murphy described as “flirtatious”, which caused Mr Hooper and his friends to intervene on the woman’s behalf as she was “uncomfortable with the defendant’s advances” and “not taking no for an answer”.
The victim, his friends and the two women then walked to Holywell Street to order food and get taxis home, with CCTV played to the court showing Wilde approaching the group shortly before 4am, becoming “aggressive in both body language and in words he was using”, Mr Murphy said.
Wilde, of Adlam Way, Totley, Sheffield, then called Mr Hooper a “f****t”, which led to Mr Hooper responding sarcastically about his bald head and his outfit, before Wilde threatened to bite his ear off, despite efforts by Mr Hooper’s friends to calm the situation.
Wilde, who has 10 previous convictions for 44 offences including biting a man’s hand during the course of a common assault, then lent in and bit the victim’s ear before running away, with Mr Hooper taking a few seconds to realise what had happened and later needed a friend’s t-shirt to stem the blood flow.
After providing no comment in an interview with police, he later pleaded guilty to one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on December 9, 2021.
James Horne, mitigating, said in his client’s defence that he has two young sons and an ill mother who would now be without one of their primary support mechanisms, but that he accepted the reality of the situation.
He said: “There has been no attempt to deflect blame. He is deeply ashamed of his actions.
“It is plain that he is a troubled man.
“He knows the reality is that as much as he cares for his two sons, the reality is he has placed himself in a position where he can’t be a father to those two boys for some time to come. He knows he has left his mother in the lurch.
“He is remorseful that people need him and he won’t be there by virtue of his own behaviour. His criminal behaviour will have the most serious of consequences in that regard.
“He is a young man capable of having a strong work ethic. There are seeds of hope where Reece Wilde is concerned. What he has yet to prove and his to prove is that he can keep out of the criminal justice system.
“He recognises that alcohol is something he just can’t handle, so he will be working on those issues while custody.”
Sentencing Wilde, 27, to four years and nine months in prison, Recorder Justin Wigoder said: “You are 27. You have a very bad criminal record indeed, although as Mr Horne rightly says, nothing as serious as this, but you have 13 previous convictions for violence and seven for public disorder.
“You started saying the word “f****t” and in due course you threatened Hooper, saying “You don’t want to mess with me, I’m from Jordanthorpe”, a fairly rough part of Sheffield, and “you don’t know what I’m capable of, I’m going to bite your ear off”.
“As I have seen on CCTV, you went up to him and bit him on the ear with sufficient force to take a chunk out of that ear and the impact that that has had is set out in his victim impact statement which Mr Murphy [prosecutor] read out.
“The psychological impact is becoming more and more severe. He is cautious about going out and it has had an impact on his family. All that, from a single and totally deliberate act you committed upon him.
“I’m told that you feel remorseful for what you did in the cold light of day and I am absolutely sure that you feel, while sober, the regret that by your actions you can’t support your mother and you won’t be able to support her for a significant period of time.”
Wilde will serve half of his sentence in custody before being released on licence, and must also pay a victim surcharge.